We Talkin’ ‘Bout Practice

After my last post, I took a break for an hour or so before heading out again.  Not really interested in defensive plexing, but not really on full attack mode either.  I just wandered here and there.  I am frustrated, but I do not want to give up.

I land in Loes, and there are two enemies in system.  I guess I am tilting a bit at this point, because I just warp to the first novice complex I see on the scanner.  Nothing.  Warp to the next… nothing.  Very strange.  I look into the pilots now, and see that they are not LP farmers/bots.  I begin using my d-scan with narrow angle, but I can not find them in system.

Then I notice something that was in my face all along.

FW Missions Welcome Everyone to the Party

Someone is running a mission.  Despite my years of PvE, I am not familiar the mission “A Wolf in the Fold”, but I can see that a Tristan is still in the complex.  This should be interesting.  I warp to the gate, and begin to speculate on what sort of NPCs I may have to run up against as well. 

I gate into the plex, and the Tristan is still there.  Five warrior IIs deployed.  The Tristan is over 40 kms away, so I begin to zoom forward.  There are no NPCs in this pocket, (just a bunch of wrecks), so at least that is not a thing I need to worry about.  As I approach, the Tristan suddenly warps off.  He left all of his drones.  

I scoop up the drones, and loot the wrecks left behind.  I do not know if anything I looted was mission critical, but I do not think so.  Looting the field just fulfills my greedy side, and it helps make me feel victorious somehow.

As I loot more enemy pilots enter system, blinking in local.  I dock to unload the cheap loot I acquired, (more convinced now that I really inspect it that nothing is mission critical), and head back out.  I scan a ship in a novice complex, warp in, and watch him fly off.  I play this game a few more times, and begin to do something I normally do not do – smack talk in local.

Me, Smack Talking

As I circle the button in the complex I decide to nest in, it does not take me long to realize that there will not be any takers to my challenge.  Not that I really was expecting any.  Very frustrating.  I scan, but detect nothing in system.  I am at a complete loss as to where these four enemy pilots are.  

Then, more from curiosity than anything else, I scan the mission complex.  There really is no reason a pilot would be in there, since he finished the mission.  ‘Lo and behold, the Tristan is in there.  I figure, “What the hell.”  Falling for a trap is better than this slow death of zooming all around a system hunting cowards.  Away I go.

As I warp in to the complex, the Tristan is still there, and a Heron appears – right on top of me.  From my experience with Alice P Liddel, I already know this Heron is not an explorer fit.  The Heron and I lock each other, and the Tristan scurries off – seems he will not even chance his safety as an observer on the field.  Not much to this battle, since I started at such a disadvantage.

XQ0014 Kill Mail

The only lesson I can pull from this combat is the lesson I knew flying into it, “If it looks too good to be true, it is.”  I would not fall into this trap if I was being selective, but this challenge is to help me cope with loss.  It is a bitter pill to swallow though.

Heron PvP Fit

The Heron pilot, Roxanne Valentine, ends up being cool though.  According to the Eve Mails we exchange, she was attempting to hunt LP farmers, came across this complex, and was disconnected.  When she reconnected the Tristan was off at a distance, and I was the closest target.  Normally I would not believe such a coincidence, but like I said she was helpful.  I also like Stay Frosty corporation.  They are fun to have around.  She shared the Heron fit.  

In further conversation, as I asked for advice, she also shared two Tristan fits for me to try out.  One of the fits I knew about, but the neut fit Tristan is something I have heard of.  It will be interesting to fly around and try out.  My commitment to my current fit is set for the next several Tristans, however, as I have already fitted them out in preparation of many more booms.

I asked Roxanne to put in a good word for me with Stay Frosty, and we part ways.  I may look into moving into this corporation eventually.  Unless things change with FW, I just do not see myself staying with this side of Eve.  I like the LP gains, sort of.  I would prefer more value to kills.  Also, the current state of the Gallente/Caldari war is completely dominated by Gallente.  We will see, I still have a while to go with this current challenge.

The next day after work, I hop on, and take to roaming.  After traveling a few systems, I come across an LP farmer/bot, and fly to the complex.  He zips off as I land, and I take to circling the button for a while.  There are several people in system, but I spin around for about five minutes with no takers.  Lynx Artrald enters the system, and I see a Republic Fleet Firetail heading my way on d-scan.  I know these suckers are fast, so I make sure my orbit is at 28 km hoping he lands at a distance.

The Firetail lands at about 10 km from me – good enough.  I had my micro warp drive prepped to overheat, so I target Lynx and hit orbit.  I begin to pull distance as my drones go to work.  Damage is getting through, and I am happy with the progress through the fight.  Then I turn idiot.  I attempt to shut off the overheat on my micro warp drive.  I want the unit to continue to run, but I do not want to burn it out.  The result was me turning off the entire unit.  A detail I did not become aware of, until I saw the Firetail close the distance quickly.  He scrams, neuts, and blasts me in the face now, and runs through my shield quick.

At some point, as I attempt to pointlessly figure out how pull distance without my micro warp drive, I notice that it has become a bit of a race.  Granted it is a race that does not favor me, considering my shields are tankiest part of my ship.  However, the Firetail is in structure, and my drones continue to hammer away.  Pop goes my Tristan.

XQ0015 Kill Mail

We exchange good fight in local, and Lynx offers to pod me home.  Accepting his invite, I load up into XQ0016, and away I go again.

Although I fly out into Lowsec space immediately, I am not hunting at this point.  I find a vacant system, and fly to a station with a repair facility.  It really pissed me off shutting down my micro warp drive in that battle.  I feel I could have taken that Firetail out with enough time at a distance.  Even if that is debatable, what is not is the fact that once he scrammed me, my battle was done.

Middle Button to Shut Down Overheating!!!!

I make some runs away from station running the micro warp drive, over heating it, and shutting it down.  The thin green bar above the micro warp drive is fine to prep, when that click has my full attention.  Once in battle, clicking becomes less exact.  I determine clicking the middle, double dash line button just to the right of the capacitor is the way to go.  It is called the overload rack.  If I click on the button, ( it turns green), then click again, (blinking green fades away), it will shut down the overheating only.  I need to keep that micro warp drive on!  I practice this a few times, dock up, repair my damaged modules, and head out to hunt.

Standard scene set up again, I enter system, chase off LP farmer/bot, and begin orbiting the button.  A few pilots enter system as the bot runs off.  A pilot from Stay Frosty and one from the Caldari State pilot draw my attention.  I begin spamming d-scan, waiting for one of these pilots, (my money was on Stay Frosty), to approach.  Time goes by.  The Caldari State pilot leaves system, and then I see a Federation Navy Comet approaching.  I did not notice Triakis Semifasciata enter, but he was looking for a fight.  I know Navy Comets are tough, so I brace myself.  Orbiting at 28 km around the button and prepped my micro warp drive with overheating.

Triakis enters at a distance to my advantage.  I lock him, and click to orbit at 20 km.  Almost all Navy Comets I have seen on ZKillboard were blaster fit, so I believed distance was necessary for my survival.  Once distance was set and my drones were going to work on him, I shut overheating off – as I practiced. 

I wish I could say things went smooth from here on out.  In this battle, I struggled to control range.  I looked up, and he started closing in on me.  I overheat micro warp drive to extend distance, shut it off, and see that he was beyond my warp disruptor’s range.  I begin to manage the few modules I have, overheating micro warp drive and/or disruptor, to gain speed and/or extend the distance to lock him.  I began to get more panicked each time I lost lock, as I started to see a real opportunity to win the fight.

Through this flurry of attention distractions, I catch a glimpse of red, and see that Triakis has begun to beat up on my drones.  I recall one, deploy two, and so on from there.  Each time looking at my distance to keep point established on him.

14th Kill

We exchange “gf” in local.  It was a good fight, but I am not sure I fought it as smooth as it might have been fought.  Triakis tells me in local that he is new to this, and just trying to get used to PvP.  I confess I am as well.  I also complimented him on staying in the fight.  There were several opportunities for him to warp off to save his ship.  He was committed to stay in the fight though!

I scoop up the loot, and head back to my home station to drop off, and to repair and replace drones.  Nothing like a win to heal a wounded ego.  There is still so much for me to learn, and I still need to accept loss.  It is inevitable, but I will go down fighting.

Record: 85 ships remain: 14 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.