Enjoying Time Off and Doing My Part for the Game Economy

Since I have a few days off before starting my new job, I am enjoying more time in game. It really is amazing how free I feel now that I have released myself from the toxic environment. Anyway, enough of that, and on to more important matters.

My last few losses demonstrated a dire need to re-familiarize myself with the process of going on the attack. Sliding into plexes with an opponent waiting to defend has proven a challenge – one that used to not be as intimidating. The only solution is to put myself out there more, which is the whole point to my quest with this blog.

Eventually I jump into a system, and d-scan a merlin in a plex. I can’t identify the pilot, but I don’t see any other Gallente milita members around. Whoever is in there will be a viable target. Warping in at 10 km from the gate, I prep my micro warp drive to overheat, and in my mind I begin forming the steps I need to take when I come out of warp after jumping into the plex. A deep breath, click, slide… I come out of warp and double click a location below and past my opponent. Then I attempt to click on my prepped micro warp drive, but Junge Junge has me scrammed and double webbed by this point.

XQ0033 Kill Mail
Junge Junge’s Merlin Fit

Post battle reflection: double click out into space and hit F1, (which is why I situated the module on that button in the first place). Basically, the fight is over before it began. A brawler in my face successfully establishing warp scramble lock and double web just puts this whole fight on his terms, and I’m not sure if any tactic I take within this Tristan fit would have succeeded on such terms.

As we exchange “gf” in local, I remember the detail of the F1 button. The F1 button is much faster than moving the cursor to the screen button. Those moments make all the difference. If I could have gotten just one pulse out of the micro warp drive, maybe, I could have pulled out of scram and web range – big maybe. Junge Junge positioned himself well in the plex, and played his hand like a pro. Well done!

At this point I have to apologize. I have been diving into the game, and I have not been as detailed at keeping notes after each battle. So, there will be some points, as in the case with this next battle, where I can not recall how the fight was initiated.

I believe I was attacking a plex. After flying around, I was getting frustrated by several pilots just flying off as I slide into their plex. B’aldrick Aivoras from EVE University, (Junge Junge’s corp mate), decides to have a go at me with his Kestrel. He slides in, but defending these plexes just allows me to establish the fight on my terms. Keeping him at about 17 km is just too far for his rockets to reach. B’aldrick Aivoras made a pretty good go at my drones, however. I actually like this, when I’m on my game, as I can begin to recall the drone that is being attacked. As the drone is flying back to dock in my Tristan, almost all of these short ranged pilots do not realize that they are focusing fire on a drone that is also far out of its range. Many seconds of fire are now wasted, and the other four continue to work on the ship’s defenses. I think many drone pilots recall all drones, when one is fired on. Years of PvE play has actually prepared me well for this little detail.

51st kill

As you can see with his fit, if he caught up to my Tristan, double web scram would have been lights out for me. If I were in his place, considering my earlier observation of attacking my drones, I believe webbing the drone being attacked would not only serve the purpose of creating a slower target, but also serve as a visual marker to demonstrate when the drone flies out of range. When the web shuts off, that should indicate to change drone targets.

Please make no mistake about my attempt to reflect on B’aldrick Aivoras’s combat. As far as I’m concerned, I would have also lost this fight if I were in his shoes. I am just attempting to reflect on strategies to take with other ships and situations. I do not plan to fly Tristans forever and always. I figure it may be wise to start thinking beyond my current strategy.

My victory over B’aldrick Aivoras also gives me a little revenge from my last loss with Junge Junge. Eve University is another good corporation that I can depend on for getting good fights. I believe PvP is just one aspect of their corporation, but they are a great group of players for anyone to join up and gain great experience from Eve.

Again, if I recall correctly, Christopher Joseph Souder took me on while attacking a plex. I saw the heron on my short range d-scan, and I just knew this was going to be a long fight. As he posted himself outside the gate, I rolled my camera view away from the plex beacon, and double clicked away from it. I shut off the overheat prep on my micro warp drive, and just cruised a bit away from the beacon. Eventually the heron slides in and comes out of warp. I situate my camera angle to center on the heron, and double click in between the edge of my right side screen and the heron. I click and turn off one pulse of the micro warp drive, establish lock, and eventually set my drones to attack. Now I just maintain distance and my warp disruptor lock, and wait for the dance to end.

52nd kill

As I predicted, this was a long fight. The double fit shield boosters is just a beast to break through. The big challenge for me was managing my drones as they took damage, and maintaining disruptor lock as Christopher Joseph Souder continued to increase range and fast approach again. Not sure what eventually went wrong for him, as I see many cap boosters were left among the kill mail drops. The damage applied to him never really seemed to go to extreme, so I don’t believe the shield boosters burned out or anything. My guess is that eventually it came down to the Heron’s capacitor management.

As I rely on my memory to write about these fights, I am getting more frustrated with myself. I want to be sure to do justice to the details. Managing this blog to recount these details is another factor with which I have to establish a routine. I’m enjoying the blog experience. The communications with readers is something I enjoy and encourage. My point: it’s another detail that I have to form habits to be successful.

The next encounter, again if memory serves, was my attempt to go on the attack. An aspect of the fleet warfare experience I am enjoying with the Caldari controlling most of these systems is the fact that any of the few systems controlled by Gallente draws Caldari pilots; like rotting apples attract fruit flies.

I see an Imperial Navy Slicer in a plex, and I slide in to take the challenge. I have prepped the overheat and my mental list of things to do. However, Sunde in his Slicer is just too fast for me.

XQ0034 Kill Mail

It really is difficult to kite a fast ship that has the additional advantage of optimal range bonuses to its turrets. I do a little investigation on zKillboard, and I find find Sunde’s fit from a recent loss. Uploading the fit, I simulate to see just how much that bonus affects the optimal range. Normally a small Focused Pulse Laser II has an optimal range of 6300 m. With the Navy Slicer’s bonus, these module’s optimal range extend, (according to the simulation), to 15 km. Combine that range with the fact that this Slicer’s fit is just faster than the Tristan – over 1,000 m/s faster – the Imperial Navy Slicer just outperforms my ship. Although I have not practiced the strategy know as “speed tanking”, I think this fit serves as a good example for that strategy.

I don’t remember the combat really going to my advantage in any way. As I reflect, I wonder if the drones also struggled to damage Sunde’s Slicer, as I’m sure the drones struggled to keep up with it’s speed and just hit such a fast target as well. This was a good fight in the fact that I think I learned some good details.

Sunde pods me, and I return to my home station jump into XQ0035. Eventually I return to Agoze, and smile as I’m greeted by a system of blinking opponent. D-scan directs me to a plex with a Worm. I warp, and slide into the plex. As I prep, I mentally prepare myself of another loss. I have heard so much about how tough worms are. In the past, I have often seen many LP farming pilots name their atrons “Worm”. This little tactic to confuse pilots always brings me a little, sincere amusement. I see this as a form of camouflage.

My Tristan comes out of warp, and I double click in to space, pressing F1, past my opponent. When I do this, I aim for a spot well above or below if my opponent is in front of the direction my ship is facing. After all, bumping into the ship sort of defeats the point of attempting to gain velocity! We lock each other, and I establish my disruptor point on the Worm. As I take out my drones, I’m watching my distance from the Worm. Miro Robin has me webbed, so I’m now just relying on hope to extend beyond web and scrambler range. My Tristan succeeds! As I look to click on my micro warp drive again to establish a comfortable orbit, I notice it is still on, which means she never scrammed me. That was a lucky strike for me.

The battle takes a while, as my drones wear down miro Robin’s shields. As the shields break, I continue to hit d-scan, and just hope no one is coming in to help her. My attention is mostly on maintaining drones and orbit. I am very happy with how well I am managing a comfortable orbit by turning the micro warp drive on and off, and thereby managing the capacitor.

53rd kill

When I dock to drop off the scooped up loot, reflect on the fight, and look over the kill mail, I’m surprised to see no warp scrambler on the fit. Looking on zKillboard, miro Robin is active in PvP, but she is mostly involved in gang fights. As I write this, two days later, she has already racked up 12 kills with her gang in just one day. This Worm fit seems to be her LP farming fit. A fit that is seriously overkill for defense against the Gallente rats that spawn in these plexes.

I wonder if I would have been successful in this combat if she had flown a Worm with a more standard PvP fit? I do not get the impression miro Robin was just an LP farmer, as I did not get the sense she attempted to run away initially. She was a respectfully active opponent throughout the combat. For the record, I do not really look down on 1v1 opponents that escape when the fight turns south. It may be a little frustrating on my part, but I completely understand it. Especially when opponents are flying the more expensive fits. Ultimately it is also a valid strategy, which I may also take once my risk averse nature is under control. I’m not sure it will ever truly be conquered.

Suggested Worm Fit Change

Miro Robin is a 55 day old character, (which really does not mean that much in this Eve age of Skill Injectors), but I’m wondering if this impacted her ability to enhance her fit with the modules that may have turned this combat more in her favor. I used the simulator with her fit, and made some changes that may work better for what she is trying to do. My disclaimer, I’m not growing a big head now and attempt to suggest I an expert. This is just an exercise to help me develop insights into ship fits and module interactions that I believe will improve my skills. I welcome any reader’s insights.

I still question the rig choices, since the shield defense is just overkill for the rats within the plexes she’s flying, but I’ll assume there is a method to her choice. I think a Core Defense Field Extender could replace at least one of the Anti-Thermals. The main point: the Worm needs a Warp Scrambler. The change to Tier II Webifier, (which removing the Kinetic Deflection Amplifier II allows), would have slowed down my ship just that much more, improving her chances of keeping me range.

This next fight I encountered after I settled in to attack a plex. After roaming for a bit, I had no luck in finding targets to attack. I completed a few plexes, and received some LP. On the third plex, Roxane Barviainen pays me a visit. Since I saw her approach on short d-scan, I prepared. I knew her Republic Fleet Firetail would be speedy, so I cruised away from the beacon to ensure I could establish a nice orbit.

I made a few mistakes after she slid into the plex. I immediately hit the orbit button, and didn’t realize my error until she almost closed the distance on me. Once again, the orbit button had my Tristan veer directly toward the Firetail, since I started the fight beyond the 17 km orbit distance established on my button. I was able to hit the micro warp drive in time to pull enough distance to allow my drones to go to work. I love how squishy these Firetail’s are proving to be.

54th kill

We exchange “gf” in local. A zKillboard investigation of Roxane Barviainen shows that she hasn’t had a lot of luck with this fit – losing six of these Firetails in solo fights within one day. She did start the day off with an Algos kill, so maybe this just indicates growing pains. One thing that confuses me about the fit however, (and maybe a reader can respond with the rationale), what’s with the Rocket Launcher? Or rather, what’s with the artillery? The medium slots establish the mission of the Firetail to get close range, but artillery is best at range. I wonder if the thinking is to severely slow down the opponent at close range, which will allow the tracking on the artillery to exact more damage than autocannons. Autocannons would have been my go to with establishing this fit. If any reader responds, I would appreciate a description of how to best pilot this fit in a fight as well.

Before I wrap up this post, the Eve industrialist in me has to point out something interesting. According to zKillboard the total financial loss I have incurred within these last six fights is 13.234 million ISK, but the amount I destroyed is 125.016 million ISK. The last six ships fighting against averaged a cost of 26.693 million ISK, just over four times the value of my current Tristan fit. I have also gained a greater appreciation for the modules and fits PvP pilots go for, and identified trends that may affect the market and create financial opportunities for those able to exploit them.

The cost of PvP was one of the intimidating factors for me entering into this aspect of the game. Not so much having the money to get started, but rather the belief that I could not keep up with pilots willing to dump millions into fits to overwhelm me in fights. I did not want to lose millions, but also I did not want to have the millions at the disposal of my opponents constantly rubbed in my face. A lot of financial risk concern, but if I’m to be honest – some threat on my ego as well.

Although I think the values on zKillboard may be a little inflated, what it demonstrates is that the ratio between the total value of ships I have destroyed versus the total value of ships I have lost is about 3.5 to 1. At the very least, my decision to get into PvP has been good for the economy.

Butcher’s Bill: 65 ships waiting to be destroyed; 54 kills.

Back from Break

Wow, how quickly six months go by… and yet not really. Apologies to my readers for the long delay between posts. To be straight forward, my real life work got the best of me. I fell into a funk, (as I felt stuck in my job), and my focus went into keeping my head down and just continue forward with what had to be done. The good news, I found another job! Although I’m staying in my career field, (which I considered leaving), I decided to give it another go – just try a different setting with another community. I’m hoping for the best, but honestly I’m just happy to leave the toxic environment that I felt was sucking out my soul.

Needless to say, my time was taken up with long hours and searching for other opportunities, in between trying to participate positively with my family. This takes up a lot of energy, as well as time. Although I have had some time to play Eve, I did not want to progress with Quin. Not that I did not want undock and seek destruction. I knew I was behind on my postings, and did not want to get too far ahead of my blog. As it is, I fear that my memory of the last events back in January will be rough. I hope you will forgive any lack of clear details that will follow, but I am committed to this task – regardless of how long it will take.

A long, long overdue thank you is due to Lt Lunar Lazair. One of the times I logged in to check on a few things, I noticed more ISK in the wallet than before. At first I was excited to think that many of the items on the market sold, but the sales did not add up to reflect the 500 million increase. Then I read my Eve mail, and noticed his message encouraging me to keep up the blog. He generously transferred the funds to me in support of my efforts. Although this was not asked for and of course not necessary, I really do appreciate the gift and support. Lt Lunar Lazair embodies the player that keeps me coming back to Eve, and I would encourage any reader that is interested in getting into PvP to reach out to him and his corporation – Proioxis Assault Force [PROIX].

Now it’s time to roll up my sleeves, squint really hard, and force out the memories of my last boom, boom adventures.

Some time after my last little kill of plex bot, I was flying circles around the button of plex, when I detected a Succubus pop up on my short scan. I began to prepare – pulling even more distance than normal, and the fight started in my favor. The pilot, Thoradain Greelich, could not close the distance fast enough, and started to pull away. I clicked the approach button and over heated my warp disruptor. I did not want to lose lock on him. However, he was able to whittle away at me, and at times in our dance he managed to close the distance and exact more damage than I preferred. The fight was long, and each of us had moments of over confidence followed by panic. The result was my Tristan not holding up to the stress.

XQ0027 Kill Mail

Thoradain Greelich and I conversed a bit by Eve mail. He complimented me on the fight, as he admitted that he thought his, as he stated, “blinged out” Succubus fit would melt my Tristan. He did not want to share his fit with me, but from his compliment I could tell this would have been a glorious kill if I won. At least I was responsible for reminding him, as he noted, underestimating Tristans can be a very bad mistake.

I follow this up with a bot kill.

45th Kill

I remember this was a crazy time, as many pilots were active in low sec during my online time. Many gate camps were popping up, and gangs were roaming. This brings me to my next encounter. Again, I’m minding my own business in a plex, when I see this gang pop into system. I know it is only a matter of time before I’m jumped, but I stay put determined to give a good fight. A Federation Navy Comet finds my plex, and we begin to dance. His buddies take a bit of time coming, and I know he’s most likely howling at them for help as my drones tear away at him. He can’t reach me from the distance I have on him. The first of his crew, Panty Raider, is flying a Republic Fleet Firetail, and she is so fast, (and the Comet pilot is actively flying away to the plex center), that I have no choice but to focus on Panty Raider. I make her the focus to my stay at 20 km distance button, and from my experience with Firetails I know she’s squishier than the Comet. I also know that I have to commit to this since three other ships, a Worm, Daredevil, and a Caldari Navy Hookbill, have joined in on the party in this plex. These ships have a combo of speed and long range weapons, but I’m already making plans on my next target after the Firetail pops.

46th kill

I now order my damaged drones to zap away at the Daredevil. The Comet pilot never really joins in the fight, which is disappointing since I would have loved to continue with the work I started on him earlier. This whole time I’m completely micromanaging the drones and maintaining distance with ships as they attempt to close the distance with me. I put a good scare on the Daredevil pilot before this gang finishes off my drones and I go boom.

XQ0028 Kill Mail

My goal was at least two kills from this gang, but that might have been ambitious. I was pleased it took a lot of time for them to kill my Tristan. I think when I get jumped by a small gang of this size and make up, my best chance is extending the time out to allow for wild cards to possibly enter the fray. Alas, that was not to be the case here.

My next kills are not exciting. Two more bots.

47th Kill
48th Kill

My next encounter irritated me. Not the pilot, Shiitake LC, but rather my continued issues with maintaining a favorable distance from my opponent. Shiitake LC’s Breacher was able to close distance with me to allow his rockets to go to town. This was not immediate however. Initially the combat was going well, but this Breacher’s shield repair was just crazy!!! This too frustrated me through the combat. The result was my ship go boom.

XQ0029 Kill Mail

Shiitake LC and I exchange “gf” by Eve mail. I was able to acquire his frustrating fit.

He flew the ship well, which I mean to say he managed the shield repair very well. I remember believing he was flying a shield fit, but I got very excited when I saw how deeply my drones ripped into his armor. That’s when Shiitake LC let loose with his cap boosters. This frigate must not have any cargo space leaving port. That is another little hang up I have to overcome. I like loot. I have a really difficult time with fits that are straight out combat oriented. This makes me just worry that I’m going to come across some juicy scavenge material, but cannot load it in between all the cap boosters occupying my cargo hold. Anyway, that’s another issue to get over some other day.

My next encounter is interesting in the fact that there really is not much to tell. Ciba Lelulu flew into my plex with his Wolf, destroyed me, then flew away like I wasn’t even an after thought.

XQ0030 Kill Mail

Pulling distance was not a factor, since his howitzers just shredded me. I think he was also fit for speed, as my drones seemed to have trouble tracking him. I even had the warriors out! I don’t really know what else I could have done facing off with a Wolf here. This just may be the check mate fit against this Tristan fit. If/when I encounter another Wolf, I’ll attempt different approaches. Maybe I’ll be able to glean some helpful details in future encounters.

That now brings me up to date. I can now return to flying and blowing up. Interesting detail since my last roam date, the Caldari are dominating the fleet war, and most of my near systems are under Caldari control. This will be an added dynamic to my fleet warfare experience. We’ll see how the LP pay out is for going on the offensive.

Again, thank you for hanging in there with me during my break. These things happen, and the fact that so many of us return after such breaks is a testament to how good our game is. Though I do not believe any skills I had developed have held up as good. Oh well, let the lessons continue.

Record: 69 Tristans ready to be dusted off: 48 kills.

Disillusion & Awareness

A lot of flying lately, but few and far between battles. The down time lulls you into moods that are not favorable preparation for the clashes that may be stumbled upon.

This post may go out of time line sequence. It starts out as more of a routine up to date post, but it does get better.

First, I present the LP bot Butcher’s Bill:

25th kill
26th kill
27th kill
28th kill
29th kill
30th kill

I feel like the above kill mails should have had some sort of slow, sad music to create more of a mood as you scroll down. Then again, they were just bots.

Which brings me to my first observation, Zkill board padding. Not to say I, or other pilots, are doing this on purpose, but many of my kills are almost an embarrassment to count as kills. I note this, because in the past my industrialist/explorer spent a lot of time researching pilots in system. There were some times I may have been able to proceed with activities if I saw then what I can see now. I have a better understanding that many of these kills do not necessarily indicate quality of fighter pilot. As evidenced by too many pilots that have encountered that have run away from a fight with me.

Yep, that is right! There have been a large number of pilots in low sec that I start to engage with, (or enter a complex with me in it), but then run away. Those that initiate the fight, I kick myself over, since I need to get better at overheating my warp disruptor to extend range. The others however, I think many of them are out to literally pad their kill boards. I am so disillusioned!

I also realized another false positive to Zkill board padding, as I ran into a bunch of strangeness in a very active system. I engaged an Incursus outside of a gate leading to a complex. I was winning the fight, but it was taking some time. A gang of five ships fly in, all blinking criminal as they were running around engaging in all kinds of mischief. The Incursus and I were at some distance off from the gate by now, but a Federation Navy Comet was able to catch up, and he takes out the Incursus – stealing my kill. I did not know it at the time, since I thought I killed the Incursus and that this gang was following up on a trap. I later found out that I did not get credit for the Incursus kill, in game, but did on Zkill board. Since I did not get credit in game, I am not counting the Incursus as a kill for this blog.

Anyway, I targeted the Federation Navy Comet that was burning to me. I begin to apply damage, and keep him a range. I know this is the end for this Tristan, but I think I can squeeze another kill out before his buddies catch me. Then his buddies leave. This is strange… I continue to fight the Comet, and another gang of four ships pop on to the gate. I have no idea what is going on at this point. The Comet slips out of my warp disruptor range, as my confusion successfully distracts me, and three of the other ships zip off as well. Damage is starting to be applied to my Tristan, and I see that the cruiser that remained is firing on me. Just as I am about to manually order my Tristan to approach, I see my micro warp drive has burned out. Thoroughly confused, I warp off to repair.

Later, I noticed on Zkill board that I killed a Federation Navy Comet. Curious. I do not remember getting drunk while playing Eve. How could I have blacked out? I clicked on the entry, and see that I was included on the kill for the Federation Navy Comet that escaped me earlier. What?!?

I do not understand how the calculation is considered for such kills. Am I considered an active combatant until the ship docks? Was damage applied due to overheating from our battle the determining factor in my participation into the ship’s explosion? Whatever the case, it is another factor that I was not aware of before, and a realization that continues to demystify my initial analysis of a pilot’s combat history as I research them.

Now for my losses, with some description.

XQ0019 kill mail

I was so pissed at myself over this one. I was defending a complex when saw the Federation Navy Comet approach. As he entered the complex ready for a fight, I was excited, not intimidated. He entered a nice distance to my advantage, but that is when I decided to go full stupid. For some reason, I did not believe I needed to micro warp drive to pull distance. Maybe a combination of the dull that set in my brain between quality fights or a beer induced tired, (no not drunk), but Kriat Kadarwell closed the distance and began to melt my face with his blasters. Oh well.

XQ0020 kill mail

Okay, so this one really pissed me off. I had chased off a LP bot from a complex within a crowded system. I figured I would stay a while to see if anyone would accept my invitation to fight. I was ready to blow up, and get some experience. Horse Hugen, (to be known as Zamira’s little toady or alt from here on out), comes into the complex in his Punisher. I did everything right in this battle, and saw that my drones were working away at his active tank well.

Then I see the Republic Fleet Firetail on short d-scan about to enter our complex. I have to make a quick decision now, and decide to go for the Punisher kill. Hindsight reflection: should have focused my damage and distance pull on the Firetail. This would have most likely taken the Punisher completely out of the equation, but maybe a more valuable kill and control of the 2v1 combat that this became.

I have to admit that I had hoped that this was just going to turn out to be a brawl with the Firetail flying in to take us both out, but when I saw Zamira pass by the Punisher and b-line it to me I knew this was just a trap. Later, Zkill board research confirmed my suspicion. Zamira Roman, (as I now continue to witness as I fly through systems), hangs out in neighboring systems waiting for her little toady to engage in a fight. Yep, Zamira is an elite PvPer, alright!

What I am proud of is resisting my initial inspiration, to write an in game mail to Zamira telling her to just challenge me to a fight next time. I had the mail written, but then thought better of it and deleted it. This is Eve. All is fair. This 7 mil. lesson is cheap tuition compared to the other hulls she victimized to this scheme.

XQ0021 kill mail

Once again I am victimized by the Triglavian tech with this little Damavik. This was a fun fight though. I flew to a novice complex that was out of d-scan range, as I believed the LP bot in system was there. Faruzen ed Divalone was on the gate. Not sure if he was attempting to hunt the bot, or just fish for pilots like me. Whatever the case, I flew in at a comfortable distance from him, and we target each other.

I was able to pull range well, and deploy my drones. I saw that he deployed three Acolytes on me. At this point I decided to continue to work the Damavik’s hull. My drones chew into his armor pretty quickly, and I see that he is active armor tanked. Then I see all of my drones take damage, about three of them have no shields left! I think, “What the hell?!?” Not being familiar with Triglavian weapons, I wonder if this is a feature with one of their weapon types. I then rethink my drone deployment. Now I wonder if this is going to be a lengthy fight, and if so I should target his drones. Redirecting my drones onto his, I begin to take them out. His weapon continues to pound away at me, which again surprises me – considering I have successfully kept him at about 20km. I really need to learn about these weapons!

Smart Bombing Damavik

After my Tristan goes boom, we exchange “gf” in local, and later converse by mail. Faruzen informs me that he believes I would have taken him if I continued to focus on his ship. He did not want to share his fit with me, but later asked me how effective his smart bombs were against my drones. I informed him of the damage, but added that the damage they applied is what led to my decision to redirect my drones to his. In hindsight, not sure how effective those smart bombs are, (considering cap drain and such), for this ship. Later, I was able to find his fit on Zkill board. Seeing this also makes me a little sad, since it would have been such an awesome trophy on my kill list. Next time!

My final addition to this entry was another interesting encounter, as I was on the LP bot hunt. There were two LP bots in system, I flew to a novice complex that was out of d-scan range. A Daredevil was sitting on the gate. As I come out of warp, I notice that I have the shakes. This is something that does not happen as frequently as it did when I first started this challenge, but my first Daredevil battle is enough to inspire it again apparently. I land, we target each other, and I begin to pull distance – nice! Things are going to plan! Then he turns, speeds out of range, and warps off. Sigh…

Not detecting a bot in the complex, I warp to a gate of a medium complex. I know that at least one of these bots recently entered system, so it takes them some time to find a safe spot and scan for ANY threat. After sitting on gate for a moment, I warp off to another novice complex. The Daredevil is there, (side note: I am getting a little sloppy with using d-scan). Now I am not as shaky, as I begin to mentally create a checklist of what I need to do to make this fight work, keep the pilot engaged, and get a nice kill.

I land closer to him than I like, but click on my overheat prepped micro warp drive. Half way through the warp drive cycle, I see he has me disrupted. Not scrammed?!? Also, he did not apply a web on me. I had pulled enough distance that I think I would have had a chance to pull out of scram range, even if he had one. A web however, would have cooked me.

With my range established and drones applied, now I just had to wait. I shut off the overheating on my micro warp drive, and began to focus prepping my warp disruptor for overheating to extend its range when applicable. I click this on and off a few times during our battle, and keep him engaged in our fight. Finally…

31st kill

My most expensive kill to date!!! We exchanged “gf” in local, and I scoop up the loot. Unfortunately the loot fairy said no to the Federation Navy Stasis Webifier. Now that I see his fit, I think I got a bit lucky in this fight. Again, the webifier would have made more of difference than the disruptor. Anyway, there was more loot in his cargo hold that was not pictured in the screenshot. This was a good kill.

It is important to add here, that I have learned other details since my last post. I have taken to watching, or re-watching, Eve PvP videos, and some subtleties have popped up. Such as using shift-click to turn overheating modules on/off. Funny how these details are lost when I watched before, but now I catch them as I am actually practicing the activity that I was curious about.

Advice to any curious reader – get a ship, fly, fight, and blow up. Just get started, and a new experience and awareness will open up. There is still more for me to learn and get used to, but this has re-inspired my engagement with Eve. I wish I did this earlier.

Record: 79 ships ready for action: 31 kills.

Time for the Manual… Piloting

XQ0016 broke my losing streak, and picked up my spirits. It surprises me how much of an emotional roller coaster the PvP component to this game can be. Win or lose, it is good to have an idea of what goes wrong, and develop ideas on how to play.

Before I head out for another roam, I take a lap in front of a station practicing overheating, and shutting it down without shutting off the micro warp drive. I practice with the overload rack, and I practice with the green bar on top of the module button. I think I am getting a better handle on how these function, so I head out.

Eventually I settle in for defensive complex. I have not earned many LPs with my latest antics, so I have some nagging issues about money. My goal is for each ship to earn at least 3000 LPs to be considered pulling its weight, financially. As I write this, however, I realize how unjustified my concern really is, since I have gone through 15 Tristans and currently have over 300,000 LPs earned over the various down complex defending with those ships. Again, financials will be a topic in a later post.

In a defensive complex I spin. Obelisk Camel and his Republic Fleet Firetail enter system, and he quickly finds me. He warps in just over 10 km away, I hit orbit supported by my overheated micro warp drive to pull distance. My drones go to work, and his shields immediately wear down. My disruptor is off, and I notice that Obelisk is burning away from me – out of range. My drones are still applying damage, but that has slowed as they too struggle to keep up.

I click to approach, and then after a moment click the orbit button again. As my Tristan shifts directions to follow the approach command, I can see that Obelisk has adjusted course to burn straight to me. Although I am new, I know this is the sling shot maneuver, and it is effective to get kiters, (like me), in close to scram. Fortunately, I already put in the command to orbit at a distance again with my micro warp drive on, and continue to keep him at a distance. My drones have taken his slow down in velocity as an opportunity, and take more bites out of his shields.

Again, Obelisk steams away from me, and this time I notice I can not keep up. Damn! My micro warp drive has burned out. I did not forget to shut it down, I clicked the overheating rack, as I practiced. I do not know what happened. Despite my own drop in velocity Obelisk continues to move further away. It is not long before he is moving past 60 km. I figure he lost interest in the fight, so I collect my drones, (which still does not spur him to approach me), and fly to the nearest station for repairs.

As soon as repairs are made, I undock, and fly back to the novice complex where we recently battled. I am kind of surprised to see Obelisk is still interested in fighting. I believe he went off for repairs as well. This was turning out to be a strange fight. He enters, and we begin again – exactly the way it started. This time, I place more attention to the overheating rack clicks. There seems to be some sort of lag with my clicks here. Frustrating, but whatever. I am able to shut down the micro warp drive from overheating, and begin to manage the module and the disruptor. Turning modules on and off, and overheating each to keep distance. Again, Obelisk is sling shotting me, but I manage to not commit too much to keep him at a distance. On one of his final attempts, I commit to approach a little longer than I meant to, and he is able to get in my face quickly. However, it is too late. My drones have worked on him throughout this fight, and his Firetail explodes.

15th Kill Mail

I am amazed, and this Firetail kill seems redeeming from the past Firetail fight. We exchange “gf” in local. He asks me to pod him, so I oblige. This fight took a while to fight. I finish the last minute left on the complex I was defending, collect my LPs, and stop in a station to drop off loot and repair.

As I said, I knew about sling shotting a kiter, but this is the first time, (at least that I noticed), I have had it applied to me. I see that it can be effective, and I am not sure I efficiently countered it with Obelisk.

I move to another system, and fly to the novice complex. Just as I start my little routine after warping into the complex, a familiar face, Tofi Jirgori, appears in the system – LP farmer/bot. I decide to try a little strategy hypothesis I mulled over during off hours, and warp to another, non-novice complex in the system. Considering the time it takes me to fly to the complex, I set course back to the gate of the novice complex. I land, and just a moment later in comes Tofi’s Incursus. What I theorized is these bot program scan for threats in the complex, (never mind the pilot that has killed her in the past is currently flying within the same system). The program simply detects no other pilot in the complex, so it sets course and warps.

I lock target, and begin to go to work. As this is happening, I notice Daniel Alpena appear in local. I have seen this pilot around, and I know he is going to head into this fight.

Daniel’s Federation Navy Comet lands on the gate as my drones apply the final hits on the Incursus to make it go boom! Tofi Jirgori has the honor of a milestone within my journey – first pilot I have killed twice!!!

I am not able to celebrate too much, as I know I have more work to do. I lock Daniel up, overheat my micro warp drive, and begin to orbit. At this point, I think it is appropriate to say I believe Daniel waited for me to finish off the Incursus. He warped in at a bit of a distance from the battle, but he did not lock me until the combat was done. Respect to Daniel.

I am able to pull distance from Daniel, and I see a familiar site – he begins to burn away from me. At this point I decide to attempt something I have seen done by kiters in videos, and manually pilot my Tristan. I have some issues with camera angle. I have to develop an eye for how this can be done most effectively, or at least how I prefer to view as I pilot. The trick here is not to burn straight toward Daniel, but double click into space to approach at an angle. This optimizes transversal, and creates a better position for my ship to resume orbit when he corrects course toward me.

To both of our surprise, I am a little better at doing this than I thought. My drones continue to chomp away at him. Daniel is very good at these 1v1s, and does not give up at any point. He keeps me on my toes and demands I place so much attention in maintaining distance that I run my micro warp drive more than I should, and my capacitor begins to run dry. Now that I am managing capacitor and attempting to manually pilot, I eventually make a mistake, and Daniel capitalizes on it to jump into my face.

From there he neuts and blasts away, now it is a race to see who pops first. He is into structure, but he has worked past my shields. Finally…

XQ0016 Kill Mail

After our fight, Daniel and I have a bit of a dialogue, and my loss is redeemed by his words. It is this sort of interaction that I have not experienced these years in PvE play, and this sort of interaction show cases the valuable community this game has to offer.

I have seen Daniel often enter into fights with other pilots in these systems, so I know he is experienced. If I can give him a run for his money in a T1 against his faction frigate, it reassures me that maybe I am improving. At least I can be viewed as a threat, instead of an easy mark.

I have more work to do, and more to practice. This manual piloting thing though… that is just going to take experience. Maybe I can figure out some way to practice on some rats, but that really is not the same thing. Rats are not actively trying to out think and out maneuver, but I may be able to get used to a camera angle that will be helpful. Food for thought.

Back in station, I load up XQ0017 and insure it. Anchors away. I set course for a distant system with high contest percentage.

I enter a system with an LP farmer/bot. Immediately warp to the novice complex, and engage the gate. The little sucker gets caught before he can warp off.

17th Kill

I lock Lomineresti’s pod, and stay with her a bit. I call out in local that if she says anything, I will release her to go on her way. I even express my belief she is a bot. Just silence. I am about ready to just call these pilots LP bots from here on out.

Eventually Lomineresti slow boats it beyond my range, as I resume my orbit to defensive plex. Finishing up with one novice complex, I head over to the next. At the gate to this complex, I meet Sterling Blades in his Maulus Navy Issue. We lock each other, and I am able to pull distance to kite him. Although I do not believe he commits to sling shotting me, he does engage in dancing in and out from my disruptor range. This causes me to manage the capacitor use from my warp drive and overheating my disruptor to extend the range. My drones continue to work on him, as his on me. His drones are not damaging me at the same rate mine are damaging him.

If you are wondering why I did not start working on his drones, I did think about it. However, I had seen Sterling tooling around systems in my travel to the system we engaged each other. I knew he was traveling with another pilot. My concern was confirmed as our fight continued. I figured that my drones were not under threat from him, so I would attempt to work on his ship as fast as possible in an attempt to end the fight before he called in help.

Sterling had an active tank, and my drones seem to keep him busy managing his armor. I make an error with manual piloting, and he is able to catch me. His partner, Lauralite, comes on scene.

XQ0017 Kill Mail

Although Lauralite did not perform any damage to me, she must have done something naughty to deprive Sterling of a “Solo” tag to this kill mail. Her arrival is one of the factors that threw me off my manual piloting game. The additional flashy object on screen caused me to double click in one direction, then in the other before I realized there were two flashy objects on grid.

Anyway, Sterling had some compliments for me following our “gf” exchanges. He was also encouraging that I would only get better from here. Another quality player in our community. Again, I am reassured that I am turning into a challenge. I just need more experience.

XQ0018 online and insured. Head out to look for just a little more trouble before bed. I will end with a bitter sweet note. An LP bot.

18th Kill

I guess the bots are turning to Incursuses instead of Atrons. Perhaps this is why I have had luck with locking them more often, before they fly off.

Record: 83 ships waiting to wreck: 18 kills.

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.