A New Personal Best, but Still so Much to Learn

As work dragged on toward holiday break, (in the process almost breaking me), I was able to squeeze in a few hours here and there to play. The night began with me setting course to a highly contested system. A few jumps into my trek, I decided to just defend a complex, and see what fate brought me.

Ha te later entered system, and he seemed to want to play. He slid into my complex at just over 30km from me. I clicked my orbit button, and quickly followed up with a desire to slap myself. At that moment I realized my orbit button will simply direct my ship straight toward this Incursus. Once the auto distance program detected that my desired distance had been reached, my ship would bank away to begin orbit. While my ship is banking, my velocity would slow as Ha te could continue to steam ahead, and close the distance more. Maybe even enough for him to pin me down with his warp scrambler.

I quickly work the camera view on my combat grid to position my view to center my ship with the incoming Incursus. I double click off to the right to create more of an angle to my approach, and repeat this a few times until I close enough distance to begin to orbit. I had my micro warp drive overheating this entire time. Once I settled into a orbit, and shut down my micro warp drive to see how this speed versus the Incursus’ speed treats our distance separation. Meanwhile, my drones were going to work on him.

My frustration chatter

Ha te banks away during one of my off warp drive cycles, and warps off before I have the chance to overheat my warp disruptor in order to extend the range. My reaction in local reflects my disappointment. I mean, come on! I only have a limited time to play, and after all he attacked me.

As I finish my local chatter, I notice my Medium Shield Extender II has burned out. I am a bit confused on how that happened, but take the opportunity to dock up for repairs.

Quickly, I pay the repair bill, and head back to the novice complex. Hey, what do you know, Ha te is waiting for me at the gate! Considering I was landing right on his position, I decided it is my turn to scoot out. I wait for the warp engines to shut down, then immediately slide into the complex. As soon as I land out of warp in the complex, I hit my micro warp drive. I was not concerned about establishing an orbit or anything, I just wanted to pull some distance. As Ha te flew in right behind me, he was able to lock and warp scramble me for just a moment. Fortunately my velocity was already high enough to coast me past his scramble range. I establish a nice orbit of 20km around him to watch my drones go to work.

This time I am attempting to be more aware of our distance, since I did not want him escaping again. While I go through this mental check list during combat, I discovered something unfortunate. Here’s a not-so-pro-tip for any would be PvPers out there: when you repair a module that has been burned out, you must online the module before you undock. Imagine my shock as I learn that most of my shield strength is not online. Well, all the better that I was able to keep my distance.

19th kill

Double armor rep Incursus. Look at the damage I needed to apply – over 8000!!! Nice fit.

I felt that I was making too many errors, since I was tired. Considering my shield status, I just scooped up the loot, and docked up for the night. I was not even up for completing the defense of the complex.

The next night, I log in to see a flashy in local. I undock and see a Coercer on d-scan. My first reaction is intimidation. I have identified the complex he was attacking, but I never fought a destroyer, and destroyers have so much more dps than a frigate. Keeping to the tenants of my challenge, (to take on all fights), I set course, and slide into the complex. Pablo Emirio is waiting for me, as I jumped in too close to him for my comfort. As I slow down out of warp, I just begin to click on my micro warp drive. My plan is to get at least a cycle to run in order to increase my velocity and pull some distance – in case he has a warp scrambler fitted. As I fly into my 20km range and deploy drones, I see that he has a disruptor – that’s good for me!

My Tristan orbits him from a nice distance, as his pulse lasers fire away ineffectively. The Coercer goes boom, and I am amazed! I “gf” Pablo in local, but he is silent. This is, to date, my largest FW kill.

20th kill

Not much action after that. Seems the night started on a high, but whimpered out. I was not able to log in for a few nights. Work was just awful.

Saturday night, and I am free to roam. I set course for a contested system, and head out to look for mischief. Oh look, an LP bot.

21st kill

With these kills, there really is not much to write about, other than identifying a kill. This one, however, was a little funny. There were actually two bots in system. Bino Koraka here was at the gate leading to the novice complex, which was already occupied by the other LP bot. He did not attempt to fly away, nor use the jump gate to slide into the complex. I get the impression his program was stuck, “Caldari Atron in complex… I’m a Caldari Atron… does not compute…” Fortunately I come in to put him out of his misery. I did not pod him, and his pod stayed there for such a long time. The pod’s inactivity is what convinced me the program was stuck.

The little sucker that was in there was able to fly out as I came in. Oh well. I defended the complex, dumped off the loot I collected, and continued along the set course.

Frarie had a few LP bots in system. I chased them off, and decided to sit in and defend a complex. The system had a decent contested percentage. HUNZY 0511 and Arien Licinius jump into system. I see that they belong to the same alliance, and since one of them is in Stay Frosty I know this will be a fight if they are in a ship that will fit in this complex. I just hoped it was only one that would be able to take me on.

HUNZY slides into my complex in his Tristan. His distance was a little further than my comfortable orbit, so I manually move toward him, maximizing transversal, before settling into an orbit. Within this time I order my drones to pound away on him. I click on my “drone” overview tab, but no drones are present. Strange. I watch his shields melt, and significant damage applied to his armor. About the time I see that he is active armor tanked, I see Hobgoblins deployed. I decide not to work on his drones when I see they are tech I, but I commit to myself to monitor the situation. If he started to attack my drones, his will die.

Soon after this as HUNZY and I are dancing and working well into his armor, Arien slides into my complex in his Incursus. HUNZY and I have made our way out a little ways beyond the complex, so Arien has some distance to fly to catch up. This gives my drones enough time to make the enemy Tristan go boom!

22nd kill

I spend a moment or two sorting things out. I had HUNZY’s drones targeted in preparation for my change in plan, and I thought I had the Incursus targeted as well. I was wrong. Although I was monitoring Arien’s distance, I targeted him – again, and manually piloted into position to orbit at 20km. Again, drones going to work on the Incursus. He too was active armor tanked. His blasters were ineffective at my distance. HUNZY hung out in his pod watching his wing man get whittled away until he finally went boom as well.

23rd kill

We all exchange “gf” in local. I was very happy, and just stunned if I’m honest. As soon as I saw the Incursus land, I could have sworn that was the end to XQ0018. I scooped up the loot from both wrecks, and dock to repair and drop off the cargo. I also take a screen shot of the kills marks, since XQ0018 is now the record holder.

6 kill marks – sweet!

It is always tempting to put ships like this away for a bit, to try and build up these marks, but that leads to sloppy play style. Take a picture, and move on. I finish defending the complex, and decide to take my loot back to my home station to continue my profit effort.

After I take care of some in game house keeping, I am feeling pretty good about myself, and decide to continue to roam effort. I noticed too many LP bots in systems as I passed through to my home station, so I set off to do a little policing.

Agoze is fairly busy with pilots, but I manage to nail an LP bot.

24th kill

As I scoop up the loot from this Atron, I pick up two ships on short d-scan: a Tristan and an Imperial Navy Slicer. I set orbit distance around the button, as I see that these two pilots are sitting out at the gate. Obviously they are coordinating their efforts to gang up on me. Both ships slide into my complex at a distance to my advantage. I decide to primary the Slicer. I know that this Slicer is the ship that will push my distance requirements to the limit, and if I have any chance at winning it may be as a result of out pacing/distancing the Tristan as we battle it out. I also know that the Tristan’s drones will be an issue. Essentially there is going to be just too many targets on the field against me.

The fight does not go on too long. Maybe longer than my opponents expected. My drones were able to work into the Slicer’s armor throughout the fight, but he was active armor tanked. He had to rep constantly throughout the entire battle. To my surprise the Tristan’s drones were not much of a factor. The Slicer was the threat, as I speculated.

No response from them in local after the fight. I will have to keep an eye out for their corporation and alliance. My brief research into each of these pilots confirms my impression of them, they are gang pilots. Not too many, if any, solo kills cataloged by them.

Anyway, for the record, XQ0018 holds the record at 7 kill marks! Obviously I was not able to capture this fact with a screen shot, but that does not diminish the accomplishment. This was a great streak.

Record: 82 ships ready to explode: 24 kills recorded.

Boom Goes My Ships and Ego

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

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

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

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

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

11th Kill Mail

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

Damavik – Triglavian Frigate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XQ0011 Kill Mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

XQ0012 Kill Mail

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

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

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

Anyway, XQ0013 away, and insured!

Oh look, an LP farmer/bot.

12th Kill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XQ0013 Kill Mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

13th Kill

These kills just do not impress me any more.

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

Status: 87 ships at the ready, 13 kills.