Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Holidaying in Lolsec

Good evening readers!

As I write this a large grin is slapped across my face. Tonight has seen me partake in three kills and one technical loss. Logging in after work I was pleased to see that over the night Minmatar Frigate V had finished and Assault Ships II was also trained, with III and IV being queued for the rest of the working week. I thought aloud to Tawa whether I should wait until I had AS trained to IV before undocking  in one. Tawa jovially replied that I should buy one and try not to fly it.

So I bought a Jaguar and after a quick scout of FHC decided on using the following fit:

[Jaguar, Big Cat]
Overdrive Injector System II
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II

Medium Shield Extender II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator
Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters

150mm Light AutoCannon II, RF EMP S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, RF EMP S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, RF EMP S
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Core Defence Field Extender I

For me it's a solid fit. The tank and resists are good and it has loads more EHP than I'm used to, having flown Rifters almost exclusively for the past few months. Originally I wanted to buy a Wolf for the extra gank but I was eventually swayed by the pure versatility of the Jag and have realised it is probably a better solo ship (I will try out Wolfs as well though).

As you'll know I fly with Tawa quite a lot and he's recently moved up to Sinq Laison on what he's dubbed a "holiday". Yesterday he bid me join him as he'd had some hilarious kills such as this Retriever mining in lowsec. Today I made my way up in a bid to test out my shiny new ship and to see what all the fuss was with the pilots in this region. After chasing a few shadows on our way up to Egg I quickly stumbled upon the calibre of pilot that Tawa was talking about. A Thorax was mining openly in a belt into a Sigil. I couldn't help but laugh at this foolishness and decided to teach this guy a lesson.

Warping into the belt at zero I'd pre-overloaded my afterburner and point knowing full well that my potential victim would want to make a quick getaway. Unfortunately I landed 24km too far and my prey warped off to his pre-aligned escape route, a station. I returned to a safe spot and my wingman casually mentioned that being a carebear the pilots greed would soon get the better of him and he'd be out again before long. Sure enough not even ten minutes later the Thorax and Sigil were back out, albeit at a different belt. Aligning to the cluster I hit warp and crossed my fingers hoping to land within scram range this time.

Bish. Bash. Bosh.

Not a lot to say here; his fit was pretty fail. There was no tank or gank. I would have thought that if someone wanted to mine in lowsec he'd at least fit some guns to try and ward off potential aggressors. I considered opting to use this kill as my second and last required above class kill for my Tuskers application. Though Tawa is on the killmail you can see he did zero damage so it was indeed a solo endeavour, however it's not worthy to be used as evidence of my PvP skills so I'm still searching for that last cruiser kill. I was glad that my Jaguar had bloodied it's teeth though.

While I popped the Thorax, Tawa attempted to tackle the Sigil but the Pew Pew gods were not favourable and it managed to escape. I tried snagging the miners pod but he spammed the warp button vigilantly and got away.

Nothing much occured for the next couple of hours apart from roaming the local systems in search of more customers. There were a few baitships out there (like 2008 pilots who don't rename their Punishers whilst sitting pretty on a belt for example) which I ignored. My next fight wasn't far around the corner though and I found myself chatting to someone in local about PvP. My soon-to-be-adversary enquired as to what ships I flew so I replied that I'm mainly a Rifter fanboy due to them being cheap, efficient and hella fun to fly. I agreed to a 1v1 against his Wolf so we fleeted up and he found me at a disposable safe.

I was a little nervous about this fight as my opponent was an early 2006 character and so would have an obvious advantage when it came to skillpoints and quite possibly pilot skill too. As has been told by many players though, SP isn't the be all and end all and I soon found that my autocannons were easily chewing through both the shield and armour of my enemy's assault frigate, much to my surprise. It really didn't take long until my Jag scored it's second kill. We both bade each other a 'gf' and I was then offered another 1v1 - but this time I'd be fighting a Vengeance. I heartily agreed, secretly thinking that I'd bagged myself another easy win.

Little did I know how wrong I was!

The Vengeance soon appeared on my overview and I went in for the kill. It's shield fell quite easily while the damage it was doing to my own was  quite low. Sensing another win I adjusted my orbit while keeping good control of my overheated modules. As soon as the Amarr AF went into armour my damage completely stopped. I was using Barrage and was completely unawares that I was hitting the highest resists of my opponent. As my shields began to get low I realised this was a fight I wasn't going to win and I decided to disengage rather than lose my ship. Manually piloting I pointed my ship away from the orbiting frigate and overheated my afterburner and web, hoping to keep him slowed down long enough for me to get out of scram range. Within moments I was free and I warped to another safe. After the fight we both talked about our fits and how I was using the wrong damage type etc. before we went our separate ways.

What have I taken away from that fight? I must learn T2 frigate resists! Due to the fact that I never engaged them in my trusty old Rifters I didn't pay any attention to the numbers behind Assault Frigates and it came back to bite me in the arse. I'd previously read the Know Your Enemy articles by Azual but hadn't bothered with the T2 ones. I'll be studying them hard and fast now so another incident like this doesn't happen again. It could have been a lot worse and I could have lost my ship but thanks to some good piloting and my opponent not noticing my actions I got away.

Cue some more roaming with not a lot of action. I was still searching for targets but wasn't interested in the (everpresent) tarps and baits. Towards the end of the evening though when I was thinking about going to bed until Tawa chimed in that he'd found a Megathron doing a mission in a lowsec pocket. This piqued my interest and I frequently asked for scanning updates as I made my way closer to the system in question. It wasn't long before Tawa's awesome probing skills found the battleship and we both warped to the acceleration gate. Announcing he had a point I jumped in not far behind my wingman.

The following fight didn't take long at all and many lolz were being had between Tawa and myself over fleet comms. A battleship was being taken down a guy in a Rifter and another in a Jag! The pilot opened a convo with Tawa to try and organise some form of ransom. Unfortunately for the pilot (but fortunately for me as I wanted the killmail) he could only offer a paltry 17mil and it was decided that his mighty Megathron would be reduced to spacejunk. As you can guess the battleship soon went pop. Once again the pilot got away in his pod which was a shame - were were going to try and get the 17mil ransom from his pod instead. The dropped modules from his wreck weren't too bad and as we speak they're being shipped off to a trade hub to be sold and the profits split.

Who said piracy wasn't profitable?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Skill Training Complete

I've still had no luck with my last solo above class kill despite having a few close shaves and getting infuriated at the lag between my point activating and target going into warp.

I thought I'd make this post about skills, and in particular my skills and where I'm going with them. Right now I'm happily sat on a sliver under 6 million SP. I won't bore you with how many I have in each subheading but they're quite nicely spread out to form a good PvP baseline and I've started specialising in certain areas already.

Right now I'm training Minnie Frigates to V and there's just under 3 days remaining. As soon as Tuesday rolls around I'll be training Assault Ships to IV and then jumping into Wolfs and Jags. I'll also be able to fly Caldari AFs as I have their Frig V too but my missile skills suck in comparison to my turret ones so I'll stick with the Minmatar hulls for now.

Once I'm sat happy in AFs I'm going to concentrate on skilling up to fit my armour-tanked Hurricane, which is all T2, sans rigs. To do this I need to train up T2 medium autocannons which is about 12 days away as well as getting a couple of lvl. III skills to IV for neuts and T2 MWD. Once this is done - which should be around early-mid September - I'm going to spam drone skills out. As I exclusively fly frigate hulls at the moment drones have been put on the backburner as they have no immediate use to me. Now that I'm soon going to be PvPing in Battlecruisers I really need to get them trained.

After that my plan is to max out my Gunnery skills. Right now they're all at IV with several at V which I'm happy with for now. It's probably going to take a good month and a half to max out the Gunnery support skills with most of them being 8 days and others being 12 but it'll be worth it in the long run.

Looking over what I've just typed out it seems I have a plan that's 4 months long tops, dependent on how hardcore I want to go with drones. When I first started playing Eve that would feel like a very long-term skillplan but now I realise that 4 months is a grain of sand on a beach; I've read on various Eve forums of people that have "long-term plans" that last years. I don't think I'll be joining their ranks by creating an Evemon plan that takes me to 2015 however. I'm quite happy to wait until I get to the Gunnery skill stage before I start planning which field to go next.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Drones, what drones?

Yesterday I won a fight against an Arazu in my trusty Rifter. I don't have a killmail to show for it but the fact that he ended up burning away from me and dropping point is a win in my eyes.

I was in Vifrevaert, one of my many roam systems when a Caracal came up on scan. This kill was quite important to me as it would mark my second required above class kill to make me eligible to join the Tuskers. I was sat at the acceleration gate to a plex where the Caldari cruiser was but unfortunately he had moved on before I warped in. I should have really returned to a safe having found he'd left the plex but ran a few more scans where I was. Before long an Arazu popped up on overview about 20km away and instantly began yellow-boxing. As the flight of Warrior IIs approached me I thought I was doomed and at first tried to burn out of long point range. It soon became evident that this wasn't going to happen. Deciding to take the fight to the recon ship I burnt towards him while manually flying to keep my trans up, successfully avoiding the majority of damage from his railguns. At the same time I had his drones targetted and began taking them out one by one. I was quite surprised at how fragile they are with a web slowing them down.

Before long all the drones were spacedust but I was well into my armour too. This is where I got annoyed; having an afterburner meant that I couldn't get within range of the kiting Arazu who was obviously MWD fit. His railguns were doing next to no damage to me and my cap and armour were starting to replenish nicely. I tried all sorts of ways to get close to him but could never get under 17km which is a shame as I'd have loved an Arazu killmail in a frigate.

My opponent must have had the same thoughts going through his mind - he couldn't hit me and I couldn't get near him so he aimed his ship away from mine and began speeding off, dropping point as he did so. He offered a 'gf' which I returned. It was a good fight but one I wish I could have gotten a killmail for.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Empty, Cold Space

It's been a few days since I posted due to well, lack of anything interesting. I've killed a few frigates, helped Tawa kill a couple of destroyers, lost some ships to gatecamps and 1v1s but nothing that differs greatly from anything I've posted recently and I didn't want to bore you all with rehashed stories.

Possibly the most interesting news is that I'm no longer part of my corp. I left on less-than-pleasant grounds but won't go into great detail here. At the end of the day carebears are carebears and I wasn't getting any PvP action within the corp so I left. I didn't raid the hangars or anything but things aren't great with the (majority) of my old corpies.

I do have my sights set on another corp though, the mighty Tuskers. I've recently spoken to Suleiman about it and though I don't meet their SP limit he said that was only a 'soft' target and that they focussed more on attitude than skillpoints which was good to hear. I only have one more kill to attain to meet their solo kill requirement and that is one more above class win.

I posted the Moa kill in a previous update  and though it wasn't massively difficult I think it still counts. I've been searchig high and low for cruisers to kill in recent days - even ignoring lone frigates in my quest to find what is quickly turning into a very elusive prey. Just today I had four cruisers run away from me. I warped onto the belt or planet and was out of scram range each time, allowing them to scuttle away. Who runs away from a Rifter? I think it must have something to do with being flashy red...

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Busy Times

Things have been pretty hectic these past couple of days and I've destroyed and lost a fair amount of ships. After I put up the last post I logged on again and scored three more kills. I tempted to post again I thought better of it and waited until now as I didn't just want to spam posts whenever I killed something.

I'm also not going to write up in depth battle reports for the following two ship and pod kills as they were nothing spectacular really. I outclassed my opponents easily and from the outset it was clear who the winner would be so I'll just glaze over them.

Tawa was flying solo and announced he was in system with a pilot he'd killed earlier and had a Merlin on scan too. As Tawa and I both roam around Essence and often have a chat window open it didn't take me long to get to Adirain where he was currently scouring for targets. I asked for some intel about this pilot he had killed earlier.. I knew his name as he'd failed to rename his ship so pulled his info up from local. He wasn't that old - a month or two younger than me. Tawa then mentioned he had used T1 guns so I immediately loaded up Barrage to take advantage of the lack of range my opponent would have. 

I found the lone Rifter pilot right on top of the sun. Within a few heartbeats I was the victor. I took barely any damage due to Barrage allowing me to stay out of range of  most of his punishment. When I saw his ship pop I planned on snagging his pod and sending him back to the clone bay but something else caught my eye.

A Merlin had jumped in and unbeknownst to me was a friend of the guy I just killed. Undeterred by this new arrival I hastily reprogrammed my targeting seqeunces and engaged this new threat. His tank wasn't as strong as my autocannons however and he popped pretty easily. 

He didn't seem to have a sense of urgency about his pod however and I got a point on it. Moving in close I checked the pilots info and found he was a 2008 player. I then offered up the princely sum of 100m (which in hindsight might have been a bit too much. I figured being an oldish player he'd have some juicy implants). He promptly told me in no uncertain terms what I could go and do with myself and so lost his pod. Tawa had joined in at this point as he wanted to get in on the kill. I scooped up the corpse and then prepared to move back to a safe to wait out my GCC when another ship appeared in overview!

The pilot whose Rifter I'd popped only minutes ago had reshipped into another hull and had rejoined the fray. I think he was hoping to find me and the Merlin still locked in combat and could aid his friend. Of course landing right on top of me secured his fate and he lost another ship to my autocannons.

I called it a night there as it was pretty early in the morning. I was quite content with my three back to back fights but more happy that I was now officially an outlaw and flashy red in the eyes of everyone else. Yaarr!

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon and I was cruising the belts looking for a target. A Moa appeared on scan and excited about the prospect of an above class kill I began pinning him down on d-scan. I soon had him down to a single belt and warped in, slightly nervous at going against a cruiser in a Rifter. I landed 20km away from his ship and to my surprise he was ratting. In lowsec. In a Moa. 

I burnt towards him furiously hoping that he wasn't spooked by my flashy red appearance. Seconds later and I had him scrammed, webbed  and having already preloaded my guns with RF EMP started destroying his shield tank. One thing that struck me as odd was how he didn't set his drones on me and for the entire fight they still stuck to the Serpentis rats. Nonetheless this chap wasn't going anywhere and he died pretty quickly. In the killmail it shows that 43% of the damage done was by the rats but when I engaged him he had around 80% shields and full armour. Not that it matters really - he was getting popped regardless of how much or how little prior damage he had on him.

There's not a lot I can say for an after-action review as all my targets were doomed from the start. My module management, especially when it comes to overheating is coming along nicely and I've got a strong grasp on using the correct ammo for the right tank as well as aiming for resist holes. 

Pretty damn happy I got an above class kill.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Even a God-king can bleed...

Thought I'd spruce things up with pictures! As the first image to grace the pages of Chasing the Blue Flash what else could I pose than my favourite hull in the game; The Rifter.

After last nights success I spent much of today out roaming solo and an hour or so roaming with members of my corp and Tawa, who after last nights events looks like is going to become a good PvP partner in crime. A great deal of the roam was chasing down pilots who didn't want to be caught and I spent a lot of time bouncing around asteroid belts until I either got bored of trying to intercept them or they docked up.

Before long a Tristan appeared on scan and I quickly pinned it down to one of the FW plexes. I warped to the acceleration gate and checked again to make sure my potential victim was there. I mused for a few seconds as to which ammo I should use and the debate came down to Barrage and RF Fusion. I knew the Fusion would be good because I know Tristans are generally armour tanked but I also know that blasters would obliterate me if I got too close. Loading Barrage I prepared to kite my enemy to death.

I landed almost right on top of the Tristan and in doing so forgot about checking the pilot info as I hastily locked onto the frigate and activated my scram, web, afterburner and guns. Noticing my shields immediately start begin taking a pounding from the blasters I overloaded my prop mod in an effort to get out of the death zone. After I'd got around 9km I immediately piloted around before starting a healthy orbit of around 8km. It soon became apparent that this was a dps race as both of us were smashing each others ships to bits. One thing I did notice is that I had to work to keep my range. I was constantly manually piloting away from the Tristan when it got too close for comfort and then restarting my orbit and had to make good use of overheating my afterburner to keep the range as the blasters were doing horrific damage when up close. I pulsed my repper with what I thought was good cap management and when my opponent entered structure I was down to around 30% armour. A few good bursts later and I was down to 3% armour and very little cap. The Tristan however was a smoking pile of steel and wires.

2011.08.11 16:56

Victim: Etuura Zellis
Corp: The Tuskers
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Tristan
System: Old Man Star
Security: 0.3
Damage Taken: 3173

Involved parties:

Name: Cable Udan (laid the final blow)
Security: -3.4
Corp: Kagan-Kincaid Enterprises
Alliance: Subspace Exploration Agency
Faction: NONE
Ship: Rifter
Weapon: 200mm AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 3173

Destroyed items:

Caldari Navy Foxfire Rocket, Qty: 42
Small Armor Repairer II
Caldari Navy Thorn Rocket, Qty: 200 (Cargo)
Small Hybrid Ambit Extension I
Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Small Ancillary Current Router I

Dropped items:

Rocket Launcher II, Qty: 2
Light Ion Blaster II, Qty: 2
Null S, Qty: 238
'Langour' Drive Disruptor I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Damage Control II
Caldari Navy Gremlin Rocket, Qty: 200 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S, Qty: 361 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Foxfire Rocket, Qty: 100 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Phalanx Rocket, Qty: 200 (Cargo)
Null S, Qty: 180 (Cargo)

I offered a gf in local and the pilot returned one. It was then I noticed one, tiny little thing that made my hands shake a thousand times harder than the adrenaline rush from the fight.


What? Have I just popped a Tusker?

I couldn't believe it. I hold the Tuskers in very high regard. Since before I got into PvP I'd heard about them being one of the best pirate corps in New Eden and whenever I'd seen any in local I made extra effort to fly out of their way because I knew to sit among their ranks you had to be a decent PvP pilot. And I unknowingly won against one! Etuura then opened a chat window and expressed praise at how I'd kept her at range for a large portion of the fight and we discussed the skirmish in detail before both agreeing that it was a close and excellent battle. Going our separate ways we bid each other to fly dangerous and that we looked forward to facing each other in the future.

Little did I know how soon the next encounter would be...

I spent some more time roaming around, still riding the high of killing a Tusker but there was little in the way of potential targets. A short while later Tawa were both roaming around the Adirain system and we came across two players of around the same age as I in a Catalyst and an Incursus. Tawa made it his mission to pin down the Catalyst and show him the fury of his autocannons and I thought I'd give it a try as well. As I pinned the destroyer down to a single belt Tawa announced in convo that he had him and as I landed in the belt I saw him furiously orbiting the Catalyst. For the briefest of moment the idea of engaging the pair of them flitted across my mind but was almost instantly dispelled. Tawa is a cool guy and it wouldn't be honourable. If it were two randoms whom I'm just stumbled in on then I'd have no qualms about sending them both to the clone vat. I warped out letting him take his kill in peace and set my sights on the Incursus.

To cut a long and probably quite boring story short, I didn't get him. Three times I got within scram range but was just milliseconds too late with the lock before he warped away. I must have followed him to every single asteroid belt in the Adirain system before Tawa excitedly reported a Caracal in another belt. By now we'd fleeted up to chase down this Incursus so I punched in his location and warped in on him. Unfortunately there's no cruiser killmail here tonight and Tawa was raging about it slipping from his grasp. He only just got out of scram range and hastily warped as I was warping in, much to my allies chagrin.

It was around this time that a corp lowsec roam was about to begin. The corp I'm in is very much a PvE entity who specialise in mining, industry and manufacture and all that boring shit. However I was taken on as security for when they do lowsec mining operations and to kill can flippers and stuff and it's been alright so far. I think at some point I'd like to move on and join a dedicated peeveepee pirate corporation. Ooops, gone off topic. Rather than chin off Tawa I invited him to fly along with us and he happily agreed.

Whilst waiting for our fleet to arrive in system I noticed that the pilot of the Catalyst that Tawa had obliterated earlier on was back on scan. We split up in search of it and before long Tawa informed me that he had a point and to warp in. I arrived on scene to find most of the work done but I spun my guns up anyway and the pilot was once again put in his pod.

Our fleet consisted of six including myself and the others were starting off in Lisbaetanne. Rather than Tawa and I jump through to them it was decided that we'd hang around in Adirain looking for targets and they'd meet us in system, as local showed various targets of opportunity. This is where I started losing ships because I was lazy with my skills and drills. Once our merry band of warriors had grouped up in a safe spot we began scanning targets down. And there were a lot of targets. Tawa called out that he had a Coercer scrammed and I immediately warped in finding my target had already lost his shields and was down to 2/3 armour. I engaged my own modules and quickly ended the destroyer. I didn't get the final blow however and as of yet don't have the killmail to show for it.

A moment of absolute hilarity occurred at this point. Seeing that the pilot of the Coercer was in no hurry to get his pod out of harms way I pointed it and offered a gentle sum of 20mil in local. Smirking to myself I expected my wallet to flash within moments of payment being delivered. Only it didn't happen. I kind of glazed over the fact that once I'd popped his ship my Rifter had ground to a halt, having nothing to orbit. I watched in complete embarrassment as the pod slowboated out of scram range and warped away. Kicking myself for being so inept I warped back to a safe spot, swearing all the way.

Beginning the search anew various Rifters and Comets lit up our scan screens as well as a few other targets. I pinned a Rifter down to a belt and warped in on Kirith Darkblade, another of the fabled Tuskers. I got a point on him and we both opened up on each other. It was apparent from the very first volley who the victor of this fight was going to be. I settled into orbit and began overheating my modules whilst unleashing as much damage as I could on him, before calling in for backup over comms as I knew I was fighting a losing battle.

Reinforcements came in too late however. Kirith's Rifter was approaching very low armour as my Rifter asploded. As my fleet arrived on scene the lack of point meant Kirith could warp away at his leisure, which he rightly did.

With my next two losses I have nothing much to say about them other than gf. The first was my own fault for warping into the wrong belt and despite arriving 30km off centre one of them managed to get a point on me and Etuura got her sweet revenge. The second loss occurred when a fleetmate called out a point on a Rifter over comms. I hit the warp button instinctively only for him to announce that it was a trap and to not warp in. It was too late however and I landed amongst a group of flashy reds and lost my ship quickly.

My final loss wasn't quite so bad and even though I felt bad about losing the guys in fleet reassured me that it wasn't a bad loss at all. I left the gang in Adirain whilst I scouted out Aeschee for any decent targets. An Incursus and Dramiel came up on scan and I began pinning the Gallente frigate down. I soon had him locked to a single belt and warped in. I landed about 30km off and began burning towards my prey. He seemed game for a fight and didn't warp away. I'd planned to operate during this skirmish how I did against the Tristan. Kite at distance to avoid the blasters and win. That was it!

It wasn't to be though. I overshot my target and at a range of only a few km his blasters ate easily through my shields. I managed to get to range and began unleashing 150mm shells in his general direction. At one point I thought the fight was turning in my favour as the incoming damage seemed to be mitigated greatly by my armour repper whilst I was still munching through his armour. Unfortunately the Hobgoblin II changed all of that. As is usually the case, as the Incursus was going into structure my Rifter went bang and I found myself sitting naked in my egg.

Gfs were exchanged and I limped back to my home station to recuperate.

What have I learnt from todays PvP? I can safely make the analogy that Tuskers are like King Xerxes and that they certainly can bleed! I won't hesitate to go toe to toe with one next time I come across one. My skills also get very sloppy when I'm in a fleet. I seemed to get into the mindset that I didn't need to be as focussed on my module management etc because if something went wrong then I'd have my fleetmates to back me up. Unfortunately that proved to be my downfall against Kirith Darkblade. If I'd gone into the fight knowing I was flying solo and had no reinforcements to call on then the outcome might have been different.

To conclude, I'm not really bothered a lost a handful of ships tonight. I've had a great afternoon/evening pew pewing and to say I've had a few victories in the past 24 hours I'm very happy indeed.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Rifter vs. Rifter and later vs. the Internet

Good evening/morning dear readers,

It's gone 3am and I've literally just logged off of Eve. Good job I'm not back at work until monday and can get away with such frivolous gaming sessions! Tonight has been pretty fun I have to admit and I managed to snag another win though technically I had three tonight.

I started with my usual roams and ended up in the system of Onne.  There were a couple of people in local and I set about pinning them down with d-scan. After a couple of minutes Zodiac Black - the Black Rebel Rifter Club pilot whom I defeated in a 1v1 the other night - appeared in local, along with a non-Rebel pilot,  Tawa Suyo. An exceedingly fun game of cat and mouse began as I attempted to scan Zodiac down and get the jump on him. The Rebel seemed to have the same idea as several times we landed in the same belt or at the same celestial together albeit a great distance away from each other usually. Tawa seemed to be chasing us down as well but it wasn't long before my Eve paranoia in me set in and I was convinced that the two were working together to attempt to 2v1 me.

I eventually left Onne and went through to Aeschee where the space was a little more crowded. Soon after, Zodiac and Tawa entered the system and I casually issued a challenge to Zodiac. My 1v1 went unheeded in local but the man himself happened to warp into the same belt I was in and so I took the initiative. As I locked  the Rebels frigate I asked if I was going to get jumped in local as I'd noticed another of the Rifter Club had appeared. Sure enough as Zodiacs shields dropped to around 50% a few more flashy reds appeared in my overview. I set my afterburner to ludicrous speed and managed to get the hell out of there.

It was then that Zodiac, Tawa and myself began chatting in local about PvP and stuff(tm) and the conversation was pretty good. The Rebel soon announced his departure though and I carried on my wayward flying.

 I managed to scan down an Incursus not long after and engaged it willingly in my beloved Rifter. Here is the fit I was using:

[Rifter, Arty Rifter]
Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Overdrive Injector System II

X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator
Warp Disruptor II
1MN Afterburner II

250mm Light Prototype I Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Titanium Sabot S
250mm Light Prototype I Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Titanium Sabot S
250mm Light Prototype I Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Titanium Sabot S
[empty high slot]

Small Projectile Metastasis Adjuster I
[empty rig slot]
[empty rig slot]

One of the contributors from the thread I made on the forums sent it over to me and said it was good for obliterating cookie-cutter Rifters and would work well against pretty much every Tech I frigate. Despite the lack of tank and MWD, I can still hit 1.5km/s with my AB overloaded, and just under 1.2km/s normal, which makes it faster than any non-MWD Tech I frigate. I opted for Meta 3 guns due to not having Small Artillery Specialization trained yet. At heart I'm still an autocannon man!

Back to the combat though and the Incursus I had started bombarding from a healthy 15km was going down like a sack of potatos. Its shields melted like an ice cream on a summers day and it's armour didn't fair much better. The solitary Hobgoblin II he had sent against me was doing pitiful damage and its shots missed most of the time. As the Gallente frigate was down to about 35% armour a flashy red Hurricane warped into the same belt. I was in a convo with Tawa at this point and he said that he'd  just been popped by aforementioned Hurricane when he was refused access to dock in the station. Knowing that this 'Cane was packing artillery I hit my warp button and landed in a safe. The Incursus pilot then spat out some babble about how I was a homogay (wait... what?) for bringing in a failfleet. I riposted by telling the Gallentean that I was of no allegiance to the Hurricane and that he was in fact the one who was failing because if the battlecruiser hadn't interrupted then he would have been my first killmail of the night. No reply was uttered from the pilot and he soon left the system.

As I now edit this post from some of the glaring errors made when typing at 0330 I've realised I'm on Tawa's 'Cane lossmail. It would appear that our earlier conflict wasn't wiped before he got alpha'd. I don't consider this kill to really be mine as my opponent had disengaged and only by bad luck did he wind up in front of the battlecruisers cannons.

Tawa and I then agreed on a 1v1 and after waiting out both our GCCs we met at Planet XI. I suspected he would fit to accommodate my fighting style and sure enough artillery bristled menacingly on his Rifter. The battle that ensued was by far the most fun I've had in all of Eve. Unmolested by the rest of the system we were left to our own devices and the fight lasted what felt like ages. I started off doing the most damage and using a combination of manual piloting (I needed to start doing it at some point!) and tactical use of overloading my afterburner and disruptor I managed to keep Tawa in range of my guns for the majority of the skirmish. Several times he crept out of disruptor range and even got as far as 30km away from me but it was then that I was pushing my afterburner to its limits to get back. After what seemed like an age of combat I got the Rifter to structure but he burnt away from me and managed to get out of the overloaded range of my long point. Warping away to live to fight again another day he conceded a verbal defeat in our convo and we both offered each other a gf before chatting about various fits and how the battle could have gone if X and Y were different. All in all very good I thought.

I was pretty happy with the outcome of the battle and docked up at the Sisters station where I repaired my modules and restocked from the modest arms cache I store there. Another duel was arranged with both of us happy to start when we'd fixed our ships up. I then had a thought to be dastardly and sneaky and so that's what I did. Knowing that Tawa would field an artillery fit I instructed the stations loadmasters to remove my artillery guns and other unwanted modules and replaced them with my favoured 150mm Light Autocannon IIs. Grinning with mischief as the RF Fusion rounds were fed into guns and the tungsten plates were welded on I let Tawa know I was soon on my way back to Planet XI.

Landing an uncomfortable 15 or so km away from my opponents Rifter I overheated my afterburner and made a direct line towards him. The first two salvos from Tawa's guns annihilated my shields and I was unsure then if I'd even make it close enough before I was blown away. The Gods of Pew Pew were on my side this time as I managed to get well under the artillery taking only one more volley which my repper easily handled. Engaging everything but switching my SAR off I knew the fight was mine as my fusion rounds pummelled away at a 500m orbit. Taking no damage at all from the poorly-tracking artillery it wasn't long before Tawa's frigate succumbed to my autocannons. Gfs were had all round and we began talking again about the fits we both used and PvP in general.

Noticing the time (almost 3am) I decided that after scooping up the loot I'd make my way back and then hit the sack. I docked up at the Sisters station and just as I was about to drag my prizes into the item tab the screen froze only to be replaced by the login screen just seconds later. No worries! thought I, I'll just log back in and carry on. Only I couldn't reconnect to the server and only when I'd restarted the client would it let me back on.

But what's this? I'm in my pod? Bollocks.

A little unsure of what happened I checked my combat log and it turns out I'd been popped by the sentry guns because of my GCC. The thing is though I was docked up before I disconnected. It was only when I opened my items tab that I got shoved out of New Eden. Am I bothered though? Of course not! Because as far as I'm concerned despite only having one killmail to show for the evening I know I won three fights tonight and that's made me pretty happy.

If only that bloody Hurricane had waited 30 more seconds...

(Edited in the morning for spelling and clarity. Killmails have also been added)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rifter vs. Punisher and friends and friends of friends

I found myself in Old Man Star not so long ago and there was a healthy amount of pilots in the system. A cursory inspection of everyone's show info revealed a couple of them were corpies but there was no reason for alarm bells to go off.

I warped to and from my scanning safes and eventually found an inviting victim: An un-renamed Punisher sitting in a belt. No other ships showed up within max range on d-scan so I thought I'd roll in and get myself another killmail.

Oh how wrong this dashing author was!

Warping into the belt, I'd decided to use Barrage ammo. I had some RF Fusion in my cargo for use against armour tanks but thought I'd take advantage of lasers short range and just kite the Punisher at edge of scram range. My autocannons spun up and within moments of landing on top of my opponent I had him webbing and scrammed and my afterburner was throttling away nicely. It didn't take long for me to eat his shields away and that was when the trouble started. My overview suddenly turned a nice shade of flashy red.

A Rapier, Navy Slicer, Hurricane, Dramiel and Crusader, who were all apparently good friends judging by the impeccable timing they all landed, were suddenly upon me.

As you can imagine, I knew the fight was over so aligned myself to a celestial and began spamming warp. I didn't last long at all but saved my pod and got the hell out of dodge. I offered up a "gf" in local but my merry band of killers saw it fit not to respond.

What can I learn from this? Well for starters it's never a fair fight would be one. I did the usual tactic of looking in local for a big group of same-corp pilots but it didn't work this time. I'm happy enough with my d-scan ability and my ammo choice for the encounter. Up until the rest of the gang arrived I thought the fight was going well; I was watching the heat of my guns, I was keeping my orbit right etc.

Oh well, it was only a Rifter!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Back in the game - Rifter vs. Rifter

In my last post I said I'd try and post either tonight or Monday morning with a hope that I'd have my first kill of August. I didn't want to disappoint so I can happily report that my losing streak has come to an abrupt end.

I was flying around Aeschee looking for any potential targets and I had a small selection. A Vexor and a couple of intys. So I tried to pin down the Vexor. The pilot hadn't renamed his ship so I pulled his character sheet up and found he had only been in the game a month. Making a snap decision to go after him as he'd be pretty low on skill points I warped to the belt that I thought he was at. Because of the way the game clumps belts/gates/stations/etc together I had quite a choice of where he could be. It turns out he wasn't in the belt I warped to so I thought I'd warp back to my safe and try again.

However as I was warping out a Rifter, piloted by Zodiac Black warped in. I spammed ctrl+space to try and stop my ship but my warp drives had already spun up and I was soon flung out of the belt and deep into space. Deciding that engaging a fellow PvPer would be fun I convo'd Zodiac and requested a 1v1. He was game, yes! We decided on the terms of the fight and the location so I punched Planet III into my TomTom and entered warp.

The duel began as soon as we were within range of each other. Taking advice from the forum thread I made last week, my guns and scram were already overloaded so I benefited the instant my first volley went downrange. I settled into a comfortable orbit of 7500m and watched intently as my Barrage ammunition started chewing through the enemy Rifters shields. Keeping an eye on my heat damage (CCP really need to redesign the overheating interface - it sucks!) I felt pretty confident as my opponent entered shields before I did.

Keeping the same orbit I watched the logs scrolling up as my autocannons unleashed volley after volley of pain onto the Matar hull. One thing I did notice however was how much more damage I was taking when I went into armour. I concluded that Zodiac must have been using Fusion ammo as my armour really was taking a pounding. This is where I started to fail, unfortunately. I activated my repper with the intention of pulsing it to save on my cap but I'd realised my guns and scram were on the verge of burning out if I didn't stop overheating them. Once they were firing and scramming normally the decision to pulse my repper and not have it on constantly had all but diminished and I swore to myself as I realised my cap was pretty much out.

By this time I was very deep into armour and my opponent had entered structure. It was then that my cap failed and I lost my web and afterburner, but more importantly my point. Fearing that I'd lose my prey to an amateur mistake I overloaded my guns in the hope they could put a stop to his ship before he escape to fight again another day. The Autocannon gods were on my side tonight as the enemy Rifter exploded, bathing my own smoking ship in that pleasant blue glow that we all love.

Gf's were exchanged and we chatted shortly about what fits each other had and how it was a close fight. I was/am quite damn happy about winning this duel as it was something I needed to get back on track. I was convo'd shortly after by Lhorenzho (another of the Black Rebels) and he commended me on honouring the duel and said that'd read my blog, which was pretty awesome - people actually read this, ha!

All in all I'm pleased with the result, though I think my module management skills need some work. If I let my cap die like that in the future then I'm likely to end up getting popped, which isn't what we want. Hopefully this win will be the first of a long, fruitful streak...

Here's the killmail if anyone's interested:

2011.08.07 23:09:00

Victim: Zodiac Black
Corp: Black Rebel Rifter Club
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Rifter
System: Aeschee
Security: 0.2
Damage Taken: 2454

Involved parties:

Name: Cable Udan (laid the final blow)
Security: -3.4
Corp: Kagan-Kincaid Enterprises
Alliance: Subspace Exploration Agency
Faction: NONE
Ship: Rifter
Weapon: 150mm Light AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 2454

Name: Serpentis Chief Safeguard / Serpentis Corporation
Damage Done: 0

Destroyed items:

Warp Scrambler II
Republic Fleet Fusion S, Qty: 244
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Qty: 2
3rd Tier Overseer's Personal Effects (Cargo)
Republic Fleet Fusion S, Qty: 1013 (Cargo)
Small Projectile Ambit Extension I, Qty: 2
'Arbalest' Rocket Launcher I
'Langour' Drive Disruptor I
Small Armor Repairer II
Damage Control II
Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
250mm Light Carbine Howitzer I (Cargo)
Republic Fleet EMP S, Qty: 475 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Thorn Rocket, Qty: 72 (Cargo)
4th Tier Overseer's Personal Effects (Cargo)
Republic Fleet Nuclear S, Qty: 900 (Cargo)
1MN Afterburner II

Dropped items:

Barrage S, Qty: 156 (Cargo)
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Republic Fleet Fusion S, Qty: 122
Y-S8 Hydrocarbon I Afterburners (Cargo)
150mm Light AutoCannon II
2nd Tier Overseer's Personal Effects (Cargo)
5th Tier Overseer's Personal Effects (Cargo)
1st Tier Overseer's Personal Effects (Cargo)
Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S, Qty: 1692 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Thorn Rocket, Qty: 14

Thursday, 4 August 2011

A Hardened Resolve

Good evening dear readers (I do have a readership, don't I?),

So for the past couple of days I've kinda thrown my dummy out of the pram so to speak, because of my recent losses (six this month and no kills!). I made a post on the EVE forums about sucking at PvP and the responses I've got so far have been outstanding. Pretty much everyone who replied to my thread said that PvP (especially solo) is quite difficult to begin with and that you get better as time goes on. A few of them had even taken the time to go through some of my killboard to see the in's and outs of my losses and I got good feedback about that.

Target selection seems to be a big comeback. Several people pointed out that a great deal of my losses have been down to being outshipped from the very beginning. Taking on T2 frigates in a T1 for example. Some of my losses have been down to fighting players from feared and respected PvP corps. Though it's not impossible to defeat such players I didn't stand much of a chance when I opened up on a Tusker or a pilot in 
Heretic Army.

All this feedback and encouragement has been great and it's lifted me out of my self-imposed mood about being crap at PvP and reminded me that it's not all about killboard stats, but having a good fight!

Speaking of killboards, Lady Spank encouraged me to get my own, private one. so here it is. I'll also not be ingame until Sunday night due to RL events but I'll endeavour to post either sunday night or monday morning with (fingers crossed) the first kill of August.

Until then, fly dangerous!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Slow Goings

So the past few days have been pretty bad as far as PvP is concerned; I've lost a few Rifters and won zero fights so I'm not a happy bunny right now. Admittedly three of the four losses could easily have been avoided:

  1. Rifter vs. Taranis.. I had the opportunity to warp out of the belt. I chose to engage and lost though I wasn't too far off popping my opponent.
  2. Rifter vs. Merlin (pilot was the #3 ranked pilot on Battleclinic). Was challenged by the #3 to a 1v1 in Arnon. Lost pitifully.
  3. Rifter vs. Cormorant. Again was challenged to a 1v1 in a lowsec system. Why I accepted I don't know but I got put in my pod in 3-4 volleys.
My fourth loss was not so long ago and hasn't yet appeared on BattleClinic. I was flying an Arty fit Rifter and after having done a few test volleys at various ranges with a corpmate I ventured into lowsec with it. I soon found myself in Onne and started pinning down an Incursus on d-scan. We found each other at Onne's bright, yellow sun however seeing himself 48km away from me the pilot of the Gallente frigate warped away, presumably to jump back in closer to my ship. 

Taking the range of my guns into account and how I didn't really want to get too close I too warped out to a belt, about turned and jumped back to the sun. Nothing. What followed in the next ten minutes was a fun game of cat and mouse around the belts and planets of Onne until I landed 25km away from my enemy back at the star. Firing up my long point and MWD I started my orbit of 15km and unleashed the fury of my 250mm cannons. The first overheated volley took 80% of the frigates shields off and a sly smirk crept on my face as I waited for the next salvo to be loaded into the chamber and the firing sequences restarted. The Incursus went down to 70% or so armour and I was confident in victory now as my log was showing zero hits from the Gallente blasters. 

I'm not entirely sure how the following events unfolded, however. One minute I was orbiting my foe at a comfortable 12-14km and the next he was right in my grid at 3km and I'd been webbed and scrammed. More importantly however, his short-range blasters were destroying my pitiful, pitiful excuse for a tank. I soon exploded, leaving the Incursus at about 40% armour.

The enemy pilot and I both exchanged gfs and we chatted about how if I'd been able to keep range I would have dominated that fight. I was keen to reship though so I bid my foe to fly dangerous and returned to my home base to jump into another Rifter.

This time I've gone back to the cookie cutter autocannon, active tank fit; It's cookie-cutter for a reason.

(Though I still suck at PvP :\)