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.