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.

Boom Goes My Ships and Ego

Oh my, but I suck at PvP!  Maybe at the game in general.  This little voice is turning out to be my greatest opponent.

Since my last post, I teased myself into believing I might actually be improving.  It started with a condor.  Lovekostb Bur is a pilot for the Caldari State, and he seemed interested in a fight.  I had just finished, (it was secured just as I felt lovekostb may be flying to me), and I was wondering if the gate into the complex would remain after I secured the complex.  Using my d-scan and speculating on lovekostb’s flight pattern, I was guessing he was attempting to locate my direction.

After a minute or two went by, I decided I should just warp to a moon, and attempt to locate him.  As I warped off, the Condor flew into my complex.  Damn!  Well, at least I know he wants to fight.  As soon as I landed from warp, I warped to a small complex.  It took him so long to find my last location, it seems to be the thing to do to let him come to me.  I entered warp away from the moon, and in to the moon flies in the Condor.  DAMN!  

I wait at the complex gate for a few moments, trying to think if I should stay here or just fly into the complex.  Not seeing the Condor getting closer, I wait another few moments, left click on the gate, and just as I’m about to select enter – in warps the Condor.  Okay, let’s fight!

I deploy drones and orbit at 20 km.  I am able to easily pull distance, and my drones go to town on him.  Almost immediately as the fight begins, I know I won.

11th Kill Mail

As I wrap up the fight, I turn my focus to loot the wreck, and I notice another frigate on my overview – a Damavik.  Not recognizing the name, I immediately get startled as I jump to the conclusion this must be a Triglavian ship, and I remember my last interaction with such a ship.

Damavik – Triglavian Frigate

In obedience to my rule, not to run away from a fight, I lock on to Isana Izanagi’s Damavik, and direct my drones to attack as I pull range.  Fortunately, my fight with the Condor helped my range from this Damavik’s warp in location.  I am happily surprised to watch my drones begin to chew away at his ship, causing him to active tank the damage.  I see that he has started to attack a drone, I recall, save it, and deploy a replacement.  He works on a second soon after the first gets out of his weapon range, which I also recall, and deploy a replacement.  I have settled into this routine, as I see that I have distance, my micro warp drive is running but not overheating, and the Damavik does not appear to be able to close the distance.

We dance like this for a while, and it appears my drones are beginning to win over his active tank.  Unfortunately, I run out of capacitor, and lose lock.  Isana uses this opportunity to run away.

The Damavik Pilot – Couldn’t Work Past a Kite Fit

I remain at location for a while.  Half in shock, and half from greed – I needed to loot that Condor wreck.  Isana warps back the complex gate, but he is over 90 km away from my location.  I scoop up my loot, and begin to make my way toward his location.  As I’m about to approach lock range, I deploy my undamaged drones, but he warps off again.  I guess he thought better of  staying to take on a kiting Tristan on my distance terms.

It was getting late that night, and I did not want to play cat and mouse.  I believe I gave him enough chances to take out my T1 frigate with his Triglavian tech, I do not need to actually lay myself out on an alter of sacrifice.  

Although I have some hours of opportunity to fly during the week, I find nothing to fight.  I go on the offense, and just waste time chasing off LP farmers/bots.  I defensive plex, and pilots just ignore me in system. 

The next opportunity to fly around, that provides any sort of action, is this weekend.  It takes me some doing to convince myself to do this, I’m surprised that, although I wanted to play Eve, I just did not seem to be in the mood for this.  Believing it was just pessimism over the lack of activity in the last few sessions, I convince myself to push out of the station.

I make a short attempt to roam to look for fights, but again all I do is annoy a few LP farmers/bots as I have to draw their attention away from looking at their bank statements.  I begin defensive plexing.  Another Tristan comes into system, and flies toward my complex.  I prepare for the fight, and mentally begin to form the strategy to take out his drones.  When he flies in, I pull distance.  My drones immediately act in defense as he locked and fired on me before I could target his drones.  The drones begin to rip through his shields.  I do not let that distract me, since in my mind all that does is confirm he is armor tanked.  I direct my drones to attack his.  This takes much longer than I expected.  I go through two of his drones, as he finishes my shields.  At this point, I know the battle is done.

XQ0011 Kill Mail

After a little research on ZKillboard, I can see that he was equipped with 125mm Prototype Gauss Guns, loaded with Caldari Navy Tungsten Chages, (adding 40% more range on his long range equipped guns).  Considering he was also equipped with tech II transverse bulkhead rigs, this battle was just not going to end well for me.  Perhaps, if I manually piloted to extend transversal advantage to decrease incoming damage from his gauss guns as I take out his drones?  Maybe.  It would be tough, if there was a way.

Ed Cetera gives me a “gf” in local, and I return the sentiment.  He offers me a compliment in taking out his drones.  I get a bit salty here, and mumble, “Not really,” as I believe I should have been able to take out more.  That, and any inconvenience I may have created for him is minimized as I just left him plenty of replacements for this ship and future ships.  I state this fact in local, with a “:)” as an attempt to not sound as salty, but I have to admit my ego was stinging.  Not Ed’s fault, he was great, and fought well!

I was too into my head, I just went on automatic.  After the combat I immediately warp away, and I realized I have a long trip home.  Pod express next time, just stay and take it.  Along the way I realize I am really letting this get to me.  I force myself to jump into XQ0012, and fly away – forgetting the detail of insurance by the way.  Another habit I have to form.

I set course to a system with the largest contested percentage, and begin to look for opportunities along the way.  I would rather run into something than defensive plex, but if I have to defend a complex I want the LP value to be high.

Within the system before my destination system, I chase off an LP farmer/bot from a novice complex.  I take some time spinning around the button.  The complex was close to completion, and I needed to take a break from just flying system to system.  As I orbit these buttons, I have taken up the strategy of setting the orbit range to 28 km.  I have noticed this seems to decrease the opportunities for these brawlers to come in and randomly appear on my face.

An Imperial Navy Slicer enters the system.  It does not take long for the pilot to locate me, and head into my novice complex.  The point of entry distance is perfect for my kiting strategy, but this ship is built for speed, Shade Anid equipped it for even more speed.  The Slicer just overtakes my overheated micro warp drive fueled velocity, and begins to beat me up.  He is so fast, my drones struggle to damage him – speed tank here.  Although I had two Warriors deployed, I think for these ships I need the full compliment to have a chance to damage him.  Anyway, he makes short work of me, and my uninsured XQ0012 goes boom.

XQ0012 Kill Mail

At least this Rogue Caldari Union pilot does not need to fly around in a herd.  Doesn’t communicate with me at all, no “gf” or anything.  The impression I have developed of members within this young alliance is that they are just… bullies (for lack of a better term).  They seek to win at all costs, and probably avoid anything that look like a challenge.  This is a valid strategy, but I think a strategy that develops weak pilots.  Maybe continued experience with them will disprove my initial impression.  We’ll see if these pilots and alliance will continue to show strength when they inevitably face a challenge or threat.  Maybe this is not as much of a factor in low sec as it is in high sec.

The increase value of this ship is from the loot I was able to scoop up from an random wreck I found on my travels.  Would have been nice to keep, but I forgot to dock up and dump it off at a random station.  Of course this strategy begs the question, am I really going to go around and clean up these random loot caches I create?  We will see what I can come up with in this struggle to make this activity profitable – or at least minimize the cost.

Again, I forget to stay and get podded, (something I know a Rogue Caldari Union member will do), warping off in my pod for a long trek back to my home station.  If I am honest, at this point my ego is just screaming.  I want to do better, and this fight did not even allow me to delude myself into believing, “I might have won if…”  Ultimately, I know there are ships, if flown by a competent pilot – which Shade is, I will not be able to win against with this T1 fit Tristan.  I think I am aware of this.  There is this nag in my head that just wants to, at minimum, put up enough of a fight to place a scare, or excitement, into my opponent.  

Anyway, XQ0013 away, and insured!

Oh look, an LP farmer/bot.

12th Kill

I call this one, “I can’t be a bot, I’m in an Incursus.”  This is where I may be developing into a bit of a prick.  After the Incursus goes boom, I lock up Tofi’s pod with my warp disruptor.  I loot the wreck, as I normally do, and keep her locked.  I take position in orbiting the button for a bit, while continuing to keep point on the pod.  In my defense, I am waiting for any text to appear in local, or direct message invite, from her.  If I received any sign of life, I would have removed my lock, and allowed her to fly off.  No such communication was attempted, so I just maintained that lock until she slow boated her way out of my disruptor’s range.  This boredom/annoyance inspired action is what I have come to.

For any reader that may be looking for ideas on how to gather kill marks on their ships, I have developed an anti-LP farmer/bot strategy.  It really is not that devious, just thought I would share to inspire others to help swat away these nuisances. 

I equipped my alt with a PvP fit Astero, cloak and all.  Fly into a novice complex, manually double click down or up into space, and give one pulse to your micro warp drive.  It will take some distance to begin to show ANY distance from the complex beacon.  Once you see a distance greater than 2500 m, stop and cloak.  Let the fishing begin.

Once your bot/prey enters system, it will not detect you in the complex, so it will timidly approach.  I wait for the bot to engage in a fight with the NPC frigate, approach cloaked.  Ready to hit your micro warp drive when you hit 2500 m from the beacon – as this will uncloak you.  As soon as you do uncloak, race toward the ship, lock, and just destroy.  

I have not had one of these farmers/bots escape this trap.  Again, this is just fishing.  I found it best to just have my alt sit in this trap while I play.  When I hear the sound of combat, I shift my attention to the alt.  Free kill mark, and another victory against bots won.  I will not continue this action, however.  The faction hits are not good for my industrialist and trader.

Anyway, back to my challenge.  I again travel along a set direction based on high contested percentage.  One jump away from my destination, I enter a system with a Caldari State pilot flying a Tristan.  He is attempting to secure a large complex, so I get kind of excited about not running into an LP farmer/bot.  I land in the complex, and the pilot flies off, and out of system.  I am now alone in the system, frustrated, and now just looking to work off the remaining time to this large complex, (as I see that it is below the 20 minutes default).

Normally I do not care about completing these complexes when it comes to a fight, but this one was frustrating.  I was less than a minute away from collecting a juicy LP reward from this large complex when Meredudd in his Retribution enters system, and heads my way.  Of course!

XQ0013 Kill Mail

Meredudd knows how to pilot a Retribution.  I have the distance on him, but I do not believe this was a much of a concern against his beam lasers.  He was able to get the damage in on me, but it took him some time.  I was orbiting, and this must have made it tougher for his lasers to hit.  Lasers struggle with tracking.  I may have been able to optimize this more to my advantage if I implemented a manual pilot strategy to increase transversal.  That will be something I have to look into, and get used to.

I think this little fight was rougher than Meredudd expected though.  As I said, it took him a while to work through my shields.  My drones made short work of his shields, and began to bite into his armor.  That’s when the damage just stopped!  I could not get any more damage through from that point on, nothing.  I attempted to locate his fit through ZKillboard, but he has not lost a Retribution, so I have to resort to the little experience I have, that battle with Balzaque in his Retribution a few weeks back.  That battle took a while too, and I remember there was a period in that fight that my damage came to a halt.  Balzaque had pulse lasers equipped, so in that battle time and distance were just not his friends.

As I stated in my reflection from the fight with Balzaque, I imagine this damage halt was the work of an equipped Assault Damage Controll II unit.  When it is activated it increases damage resistance by 75% for 15 seconds!  First, this damage negation period seemed much longer than 15 seconds, but in frigate fights time is subjective.  Second, wow!  When implemented effectively this is crippling for my offense.  Mental note here, if this is in effect, I will be sure to apply resources to other targets during this time – like drones.  In the case of a Retribution, no drones.

Meredudd never went after my drones, he just kept trying to close the distance – probably to assist his laser tracking.  After I popped, I again fly away in my pod, we exchange “gf” in local.  Meredudd states that he burned out a few of his mods in this fight.  I interpret that to indicate the fight surprised him, and distracted his attention from his regular routines.  This is a victory, and I am happy about it.  It was a good experience with a cool pilot.  However, I still feel a bit disgruntled as I make my long way home for another ship.

Maybe this weekend I am just not in the right head space.  Again, I force myself into XQ0014, insure it, and anchors away.

As I make my way through systems implementing the routines I have begun to form, I  reflect on what is bothering me.  The question is answered by a not so surprising source.  Oh look, another LP farmer/bot.

13th Kill

These kills just do not impress me any more.

I am worried that I am not improving.  Am I just killing plush targets, just to explode under the guns of better pilots?  It’s not for lack of trying.  I am not avoiding or attempting to select prime targets.  That is the worry that is nagging at me.  These articles of bots ruining the game, concerns over Eve dying, and my experience with games that I love eventually dying is kind of dragging me down.  Most likely, I am probably not in a very good mental head space this weekend.  Stress at work, holidays, yadda yadda…  I need to push all this aside, and just enjoy the moments.  Continue to learn, and stop being so emo.

Status: 87 ships at the ready, 13 kills.