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.

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.