No Game Achievements, Only Wrecks, and I’m Good with That

After finishing my last, long overdue post, I undocked and headed out to the neighboring system, which is now enemy territory. The system was crowded, and I immediately pinged an Executioner within a small plex. Already I can tell I just need to dive in again, since just the thought of mixing it up was giving me the shakes. So strange how this game inspires such real physical manifestations of anxiety.

Going on the defensive would have probably been the calmer move, but then again that’s not what this blog is about. I go on the attack! I fly in, and get even more excited, (thus shakier), as I realize that the pilot, COOLCHICK Rova, is not a bot that will go on the run. She gets a good amount of damage in on my shields, as I weave my way through the full stupid mode that I have slipped into. What I did right: prepped my micro warp drive to overheat… and that’s about it. The many details that I had previously organized slipped away. I didn’t even really have a good camera angle to allow me to maneuver through these details. Where I would manually click into space past my opponent to microwarp drive past before establishing orbit, I just panic and default to orbit button. Oh yeah, then I target her, and oh damn… deploy drones. Then I realized that I separated my Hobgoblins from my Warriors, (as I would in my PvE experience), so now there are two groups that I need to command. Like I said, I went full stupid.

Anyway, I finally get to the orbit I want, and my drones begin to do there job. They chew through COOLCHICK Rova’s shields quick, and get well into armor. To no surprise, I see massive armor repairs go into action on her active tanked ship. I also notice that she’s slipping away from my warp disruption range. That’s when I remember camera angle and position, and how I have not been managing this. I attempt a quick adjust, and I overheat my warp disruptor to extend the range. That’s when I noticed my micro warp drive has burned out. Nice. I’m back to the basics now.

The combat continues as I now slowly orbit at a good distance, but my hopes with winning have severely declined. COOLCHICK Rova is keeping up with her armor repairs, and her lasers continue to work away at me. This combat has gone on too long considering the number of errors I made. I guess COOLCHICK Rova senses this too, as she extends distance on me, and then flies away. This leaves me gliding slowly through this plex, mouth hanging open a bit in shock. What? No other ships on d-scan, so she could not think help was on the way. Maybe her Ancillary Armor Repairer ran out of paste? This is just a guess based on the significant damage repair she displayed. I don’t know. I just thought for sure I was a sitting duck for her.

Not much for PvP, but check out that fashion!

After the combat I looked at her profile, which just escalated my confusion. RvB, if I remember correct, is a PvP alliance. I quickly fly into a player station, make repairs, and now head out to the next system she traveled. This is my attempt to go round two. I figure she may have docked to restock, and would be willing to dance again. Nope. I chase her through at least three systems. I head to plexes and d-scan away, but she eventually exits the system I enter. Since I did everything short of trash talk, (which I really attempt not to indulge in), I am now confident she does not want to fight. Which again makes me question her selection in corporation and alliance. Oh well.

I settle into a plex to defend. I am curious how much LP will be earned from attacking a novice site while the Gallente militia is in Tier 1 status. Spoiler alert: about the same, if not lower, than defending with a high Tier rank. At least it takes more time to complete with all the npc spawns that you have to kill. Yes, sarcasm. I shouldn’t get too down on this. When the Gallente militia tiers up, I’m hoping to be surprised at the LP value. At least that’s my hope.

A familiar face pops into system, and welcomes me back in local – Daniel Alpena. You know him from the boom: XQ0016! There’s another pilot in system, and we chat in local for a bit. The other pilot seems to be giving Daniel crap about his -9.8 status not being -10, and references some bombing kills of multiple targets Daniel recently conducted. Personally I’m not sure if the other pilot was a little angry or having some fun, but the incident that was discussed assures me that Daniel Alpena has a lot of fun in a variety of ways in low sec.

I ask Daniel what he is flying, and he tells me a Tristan carrying a load of corpses. So, I remind him I’m a viable target, and moments later he arrives in my plex. The dance begins. I keep distance on him, which is always much easier while defending. We begin to work on each others’ drones. Daniel has guns, so he hits harder, but I successfully recalled and deployed as he damaged. I lose one while taking out his, and then I focus drone fire on his Tristan.

49th kill

Throughout the fight, I could have been better at maintaining lock on him. There were several times I drifted past my disruptor’s range. We exchange “gf” in local, and chat a little more. Apparently the Tristan I just wrecked had 47 kill marks on it. Daniel also joked that I should have fun with the 20 corpses that dropped as loot. The above kill mail does not extend far enough to show that, but yep 20 corpses! Daniel has been busy destroying bots. I recognized several of the names now in my cargo hold. I finish off the plex, and drop off the loot. I am one of those morbid pilots that have a cargo can to store corpses. Sort of a morgue freezer I guess. I have been with this game for years, and I keep thinking there may be more to these items than just morbid trophies. Even if that is not the case, morbid trophies still draws me in.

Not willing to log out yet, I make another small roam. Four blinking pilots in Loes, but I can only identify the location of one. Arderic Kion is running a mission – Demolition – in a Merlin. I think it’s probably a trap, but what the hell. Using the gate, I warp in about 50 km away. He’s finishing off the last rat, and does not appear to attempt to align away. I spam d-scan, but no ships yet. We lock each other simultaneously, and I easily establish an orbit at 17 km around him. Strange thing, as we engage each other the other three Caldari pilots leave system. The Merlin just melts under my drone fire.

50th kill
Guilt or justification payment?

I wish him a “gf” in local, and destroy his pod. After collecting the loot, I dock to look over my haul and kill mail. That’s when I realize this kill was cheaper than the bots I’ve killed. I see the Civilian Gatling Railgun in his cargo bay, and now I just feel bad. You see, along with my risk averse nature I have a high guilt factor that nags at me. Of course I do not know for sure, this is a new player, and I feel bad beating up on a three day old pilot. I send him an Eve mail and some money to help alleviate my guild. As I type this mail though, I do realize that he entered into faction warfare, so these kills can’t be too much of a surprise for him. Acknowledging the fact that he’s fair game in this war seems legit, but I still throw some cash at him to encourage him to continue to play. Funny fact about my stupid conscious, after I log off I fret the amount I sent him was too stingy. The next day I send him 5,000,000 ISK more.

But hey! Ding! I reached 50 kills! No achievement unlocked in Eve space though. Just cold reality. Another thing I love about the game. If you don’t get value from your own intrinsic reward system, you will not enjoy the game. Then again… there are the frozen corpses to scoop up.

This was my reward following the Merlin kill.

XQ0031 kill mail

The next day I log in and attack a plex. Xander Dayne flew in with his Tristan, and we battled for a while. I immediately went to work on his drones, which took more attention from me than I preferred. As I later stated to Xander, I love flying Tristans, but I hate fighting them. While I was commanding drones to kill drones, my attention drew away from the orbit distance. Xander was not recalling his drones, but kept his attention to driving forward to close the distance. Again, time away has made me sloppy. I was too sparing with my micro warp drive. Because I had prepped it to overload and burned it out previously, my micro warp drive unwisely became the object I needed to protect. Again, I need to get used to overheating it to establish the orbit I want, then turning off the overheat – not the whole module. The drive should remain on until I identify that much speed is not necessary for the fight. What makes my concern even more unfortunate is that Daniel had a neut, so when I realized how close he was I think I was able to get one pulse from the drive out before my capacitor was sucked dry.

After shooting out three of his drones and my cap running dry, I focused my drone fire to Xander’s Tristan. Now it was a straight out race. Soon after I focused my fire on his ship, Xander realized that he needed to deploy more drones. Now we had a race as drones pounded went to work on each of our ships. My hope to win sinks when I see he is active tanked. Each time his armor zips up with white, my hope slips more. I go boom, while Xander enjoyed his victory with 6% of his hull left. Xander and I chat it up for a while in local. He gave me some great tips, and I offered my newb insight for him as well. Good lessons were learned, and, much like Daniel earlier, Xander will be an opponent I will enjoy running into again. Daniel also dropped 50 million into my account for the encounter. Not necessary, but appreciated. This too most likely caused me to rethink my earlier gesture to Arderic, and led me to throw more money his way.

XQ0032 powers up, and away I go. To improve my attack, I roam looking for targets already in a plex. No luck, so I settle in to a plex and start my orbit. A Succubus comes in to system, slides into my plex, and just destroys me.

XQ0032 kill mail

Land 780 just swarmed me, and then without a word podded me. That’s fine. At least the loot fairy gave him the big middle finger from my wreck.

Thanks for the info Diana – whoever you are!

I was a little irritated by this, since I wasn’t sure how to process this encounter. Upon reflection, this Succubus seemed to really have trouble maintaining a comfortable distance. Considering the damage that was applied to my Tristan at such extreme distances, Land 780 had to be beam laser fit. My drones also seemed to really struggle keeping up with the ship, as very little damage was applied. I went on zKillboard to do a little research. Land 780 has racked up tons of kills, but most of them are among gangs. He has not lost a Succubus, so this is frustrating. I dig a little deeper into zKillboard, and found the fit pictured here. Of course this is just speculation, but considering the speed and other modules that were applied at various ties in the fight – I figure this is probably close to what I was up against. The bling modules are also my guess, but I don’t get the impression Land 780 is someone who enters into fights unless he feels he guaranteed a kill. Such pilots invest highly to glean every ounce of advantage.

If I sound a little bitter about Land 780’s victory, it’s probably more about me being spoiled by the other pilots I’ve encountered taking time to talk in some way. I too have podded other pilots, but I attempt to throw a “gf” up in local at least. The encounter with Land 780 was all business, which ultimately is fine. Doesn’t mean I have to like that style.

Butcher’s Bill: 67 Tristans waiting for their destruction; 50 kills.

Rust After Just One Week

My last post caught me up to my experience just before I left on a trip with my family. Apparently a little time off needs to be considered before you jump back in to the fight. Rust must be shaken off.

My very first encounter demonstrated this. Fortunately I was not able to catch up to an LP bot, but an actual gamer. Christopher Joseph Souder in his Incursus slid into the complex I settled in to defend. We started at a distance to my advantage, but that did not stop me from clicking on the button to orbit him. The problem: he was over my orbit range, which means I just ordered my ship to go directly at him. With Christopher steaming at me, I just created the opportunity for him to close the distance with me faster, as my Tristan will slow to adjust course to orbit while the Incursus drives in without interruption to his velocity. That equates to scram distance, and thus death time for me.

As the distance ticks quickly decrease, I realize my mistake and perform some sloppy combo of manual flight order, and then orbit order. Within these commands, he was able to scram and web me. Fortunately, however, the accelerated momentum I had built carried me out of his range, and allowed me to establish a nice orbiting distance for my drones to go to work.

Oh, but the slop did not end. I got too complacent at a point. Perhaps I attempted to manage my capacitor unnecessarily, but I decide to shut off my micro warp drive at some point. He drifts past my warp scrambler range, which could have been better managed by me overheating the scrambler as I notice his distance extend further than I want. I was more concerned about re-establishing my point on him than managing my approach vector. He turns back to me, effectively sling-shotting me, and gets in my face. Now it is just a race to see which of us pops first.

38th kill

We exchange “gf” in local. He adds that he botched up several things in our fight, and I reassure him that I did as well. It was just an ugly dance altogether. Something that did go right was the Coreli A-Type 1MN Afterburner module the loot fairy granted. Nice welcome back gift.

XQ0023 was acquiring a number of kill marks. Despite the lack of skill development I displayed in the last encounter, I was wondering if XQ0023 was going to break the kill mark record. While I considered this and roamed looking for the next fight, a message in Militia chat caught my eye.

Militia Chat – Communication or Baiting?

As I said before, I am new to this faction warfare thing. I am learning many things that are not necessarily obvious to anyone entering this game, and learning by additional research – via articles and YouTube vids. For example, I learned the etiquette of donating a percentage of our LP gains to the system hub to support the larger effort. I do abide by this, since I want to be a community member. Although I have not had much luck in responding to requests made through the Militia channel, (believe me I know the risks involved), I figured, “What the hell.” My goal is to combat my risk averse nature, and I have never been involved with this sort of action. Hikkoken was only two system away from my location. I set course, and fly.

XQ0023 Kill Mail

It was not necessarily a set up. Other ships were involved, bigger ships. I joined this faction effort in my little frigate, with my little drones. I was not too surprised to see the vultures, (pirates), gathering around the effort as well. All about 100km away, circling, looking for opportunities to sneak into distance for easy targets and establish locks. I was such a target.

Caldari Hub Attack Effort

It was interesting to see how much damage is needed to take on these hubs. With the force we had, the progress was slow. An annoying things about being taken out in such an effort is there is little chance someone is going to pod you. I remained for a bit hoping someone would take me out, but considering the extreme efforts they have to go to just to establish locks on a target or two, my pod was a very low priority target. I had to pod race it back home to jump into another ship.

I was intrigued by this effort, and wanted to know more. My paranoid side wondered if this was just a ruse to draw in random pilots to gather kills, but that did not stop me from jumping into XQ0024 to sail off to get back into this hub attack. Rust alert: I did not insure my ship.

XQ0024 Kill Mail

Oh joy! Rogue Caldari Union showed up to join in on the easy pickings. Big surprise!

Anyway, I was not as quick to kill this time as I was last time. There were several attempts to slowly sneak into range and establish lock on me, only to have me warp off to a nearby celestial. I warp back in to rejoin the effort, and the process would repeat. At least one of their cruisers was lost to the effort, which helps to reassure me that the attack effort may have been legitimate. I wish I could take some responsibility in the kill, (other than performing beautifully as bait), but my drones were not sufficient for such an action. My strategy was to orbit close to the hub, so I could dock my drones quickly when I would have to warp off. As you can see from the kill mail, they eventually had to coordinate effort for several ships to approach and attack before I could fly off.

I was not able to see the hub go down, nor do I know if this attack to regain Gallente control of the system was eventually successful. I did not want to make another trek back to the contested system after my two pod drives back home. I wanted to keep it close, and see what other mischief I could find. XQ0025 away, and again rust alert: no insurance!

I fly into a system, and see an Imicus on d-scan. There is only one other pilot in system, so I spend a few moments attempting to locate where the Imicus may be. Through narrowed d-scanning, I see he is just outside a station. I get excited about the idea of attacking something, and warp to the station. Now it is important to note here that the pilot was a neutral, not involved in faction warfare. I see him just sitting there outside of the station. I approach manually, deploy drones, lock him, and finally when in range hit him with my warp disruptor. Remember kids, warp disruptors and scramblers “hit” your target, and therefore considered a hostile attack.

The screech alerting me to my shields stripping away reminded me of those things called station guns. Man, how rusty can I get in a week!!! I pop under those guns, as my “victimized” pilot states matter-of-factly in local, “You shouldn’t do that.” He should think about renaming his pilot to “Captain Obvious”.

XQ0025 – in lieu of kill mail

No kill mail provided here, since I did not receive one. Zkillboard does not show the loss, nor does my loss activities within my character sheet. I find this strange, since the losses I incurred during the newbie quests I completed in the beginning all show. So stations guns do not count? Whatever, I am counting it as a loss. For the record, XQ0025 went boom as a result of pilot going full stupid. I will not allow the lack of evidence to hide an accurate record.

XQ0026 away! Roll the LP bot Butcher’s Bill:

39th kill
40th kill
41st kill
44th kill

For the 42nd kill, I almost included her as an LP bot, but I decided not to. Gaganya Cobon-Han may just be a new player. At first I was confused, since I have not met an LP bot that used a Tristan. If I slide into a complex with a Tristan, I can usually count on a fight. If the Tristan warps off, it is because an active player is looking for easy LP. I know, that is a thin line in difference, but there is a difference. Anway, Gaganya also has a fit that is much more expensive than an LP bot. What confused me, and almost caused me to almost count her an an LP bot, was the fact that there was just no fight from her.

42nd kill

There was enough doubt in my head at the time of combat that I called out “gf” in local. Later, I ran into Gaganya again. She flew in 70km from a complex, as I warped in on it. As I began to fly toward her, she flew off. I feel there is enough evidence here for me to consider Gaganya a real player.

The night after my little victory over Gaganya, I logged in to find something in the same system that I believe is too unusual, a real faction warfare pilot attacking a complex – Urza Warrior. I undock, and see he is in a Cormorant, and locate his location. I am still a bit intimidated by destroyers. It is important to respect the heavy damage they can spit out, but I think my hesitation is mostly rooted in the fact that a destroyer is a larger, or at least more advanced, class of ship than a frigate. There is just some dis-proportionality hang up thing with me on this. Cruisers, for example, just seem unobtainable as a single frigate pilot, although I have heard the success stories of other pilots. I did not pay attention to the details of such stories, but I would not be surprised to learn the frigates were better than T1. I could be wrong though.

I sucked up my insecurities, and warp to 10km off the gate to the complex. I prep my micro warp drive to over heat, and slide into the complex. I believed my first priority is to hit the micro warp drive to gain the distance that I want, so when I finally land that is exactly what I do. Massive damage hits my shields has I fly off, deploying my drones, and hitting him with my warp disruptor. It is not until I am able to settle into an orbit and gain some transversal velocity that I begin to mitigate the incoming damage.

43rd kill

From the kill mail, I see that the 150mm Prototype Gauss Guns kept him in the battle even at the distance I preferred. If I did not keep moving, he would have shredded me, even at my distance. I wish him “gf” in local as he flew off in his pod, and think the rust is starting to fall off.

XQ0026 Kill Mail

Ah gate camps… They keep us humble. Not much to say here. They insta-locked, and made short work of XQ0026. That is all that can be said.

Record: 73 ships ready to fly: 43 kills.

Back After Some Pay Back

Excuse the delay in between posts. My family and I were able to take advantage of a last minute get away after Christmas, and it was quality time with the family. No regrets! Well, other than cutting into what I thought would be significant gaming time opportunities. But family time! That takes priority… right?

Before I left, I had some events that led to some nice booms in game. Starting with a bot.

32nd kill

Then leading to my explosion.

XQ0022 kill mail

Dravinol caught up to me in a complex as I struggled to manage my manual piloting. As mentioned before, if I do not pull enough distance from my opponent – I will just die.

No problem though, more Tristans where that came from. I hop into another ship, insure it, and head out on another roam. Growing a bit bored in my travels, I settle into a nice little novice complex that already had a few minutes knocked off of it. I did not remember at the time, but I was about to encounter a couple of old friends looking to blow me up again.

Lauralite Anne Brezia slid into my complex in her own Tristan. Fortunately for me, I was at a nice distance, and began to work to maintain it. I used several Warrior IIs to hamper her ability to shoot up my drones, in case this would work out to be a drone battle. My drones began to pound into her armor quickly, and she was not actively attacking my drones. Seeing the damage she was applying to me was minimal, I decided to keep my focus on her Tristan. Good thing too, since I picked up an Incursus on short d-scan.

Sterling Blades slid into my complex, and began to burn toward me. I made a quick decision as he broke into my “anything closer than 20km” comfort zone, and I engaged him as the primary target for my keep at 20km activity. I figured the more he attempted to close in, the worst that will happen is that he would drive us away from the Tristan. Good thing I made this decision as soon as I did, since Sterling actually caught me within 10km at this early point of our encounter before I was able to break past his web and scram range. Praise be to my overheated micro warp drive!

Meanwhile, I kept my drones attention on the Tristan, as Lauralite was now well into structure. I am so glad I invested skill points into control distance of my drones, as they eventually popped the Tristan and raced back to me to focus on my next opponent.

33rd kill

At this point, I keep Sterling at a nice, comfortable distance while my drones go to work. I have to order a few back into my bay, as he began to target them. No worries, fresh ones were waiting to replace my recalled drones. In this battle I also noticed that if I effectively manage my drones, I can waste a lot of my opponents energy and ammo. Unless they are actively tracking the targeted drone’s range, they will continue to shoot even after the drone passes beyond their optimal range on the way back to the drone bay. Cool for me, as the drone stops taking damage, and this equates to nice moments wasted before your opponent realizes he needs to change target.

I was amazed as Sterling continued to melt, and finally went boom.

34th kill

After I scooped up the loot, (including replacement drones – yay), I docked, and conducted my little reflection research on the fight. That is when I noticed that these two victimized me in the past. XQ0017 went boom as they teamed up on my approach to novice complex. Only that time, Sterling first engaged me, later to be joined in by Lauralite. To be fair, in that fight Sterling pretty much just bested me, but I am just not a fan of the whole gang up thing. I felt SO GOOD taking them out in their effort to 2v1 me!!!

That was the highlight to my pre-vacation roam. The follow up efforts are just a sad line of confused LP bots.

35th kill
36th kill
37th kill

XQ0023 was proving to be a productive little ship. I gathered so many LPs flying with her, and she continued to rack up the kill marks. Granted a few more quality than the majority, but kills just the same.

Although I spent some time in game when I returned from vacation, I will end this post here. I will continue the tale for a near future post, which will hopefully catch me up. I sometimes worry that I make these posts too long, and hope the few readers I gathered enjoy the efforts. I attempt to provide reflections in these posts, along with the narrative accounts, (to the best of my memory), of each notable battle. I am always open to suggestions to improve the content, if anyone would like to offer any.

It is good to be back, but I hate returning to work. Today was tiring, but I wanted to be sure to get this post out.

Record: 78 ships waiting for their day: 37 kills.

Now This, …This is What I Expected

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

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

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

10th Kill

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

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

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

XQ0007 kill mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

XQ0008 Kill Mail

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

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

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

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

XQ0009 Kill Mail

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

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

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

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

Smooth crew there.

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

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

XQ0010 Kill Mail

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.