Monday, November 26, 2012

Golden Retriever

This report is thanks to our fearless leader (or is it former fearless leader?  or is it our fearless former leader?) Miura Bull - without him, it wouldn't have happened.

I looked at MB's recent kills and noticed that he was doing well in a small low sec pocket of space.  I had a jump clone in Solitude and knew that there were a couple similar spots there - so I decided to try my luck.  I loaded up a rifter and headed to Sarline - the first of three low sec systems isolated from the rest of low sec by a bunch of high sec systems.

A quick scan noted both a retriever and a procurer somewhere in the system.  I assumed that they would be docked up in a POS somewhere or would flee when one of them shouted, "OMG! Rifter on scan!"  But just for form's sake, I flew to a safe spot and scanned around.  They were both in an asteroid belt.

Being a bit unacquainted with mining ships (and remembering that one of them had recently been buffed into a tough ship) I asked in the R1FTA channel which was tougher - a retriever or a procurer.  It turned out that the procurer is the tougher of the two.  So I turned everything up to 11 and made for the asteroid belt aiming to attack the retriever.

I had little hope of success.  For several reasons...

  1. I was a negative security status member of the Black Rebel Rifter Club - surely they would be alert to the danger when they saw me arrive in the local channel
  2. My rifter had been in Sarline and on their scanners for probably 4 or 5 minutes while I was chatting with my R1FTA mates about the procurer/retriever decision.
  3. When I landed I would have to be close enough to scramble their warp engines before they fled.
  4. These things usually just don't work out for me...
But, in this case everything worked.  I landed about 30k away and hit the overheated afterburners to head for the retriever.  The procurer fled, but the retriever didn't.  I webbed and scrambled him and started pounding him with my autocannons and missile launcher as I orbited close.  Part way through I remembered to turn off the heat on the web and scram and afterburner.  

As the retriever was going into structure I noticed that my warp scrambler had burned out (gotta remember to turn off the heat sooner...).  I figured that he would soon just warp away, but even there I was lucky and he didn't.  Instead he blew up in a fireball of destruction.  \o/

I made a grab for his pod and started pummeling it, but in typical Jack Dancer fashion I failed to orbit the pod and instead was flying off into space in a random direction - soon far enough away that my weapons were out of range.  His pod was damaged, but still had some structural integrity.  Eventually, before I could turn around and get close to him, he warped to safety.

My guess is that he was afk mining.

I headed in to grab any loot from the wreck (including golden omber), but not surprisingly a friend of the retriever pilot showed up in a rifter killer cruiser.  I warped to a safespot to wait out the GCC.

Sab Than Jouhinen (the unfortunate retriever pilot) and I chatted a bit (He seemed keen on having me fight him again "like a man" in the system filled with half a dozen of his friends...) then it was time for me to wrap things up for the night.  The cats needed to be fed...

Death to Flying Things score: 18-45-1 (there are a couple new losses in there due to misadventures related to a thrasher...)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Armageddon vs. R1FTA Gang

It all started in typical Jack Dancer Style(tm) - I screwed up.

After my RvB alt took the Agony PvP Basic class last weekend (which I very highly recommend - it's an excellent course on PvP) I thought it would be a good idea to set up the R1FTA voice comms - they seem like they could be handy.  Now, don't get the feeling that voice comms are a vital part of the Black Rebel Killing Method(tm).  They aren't.  Probably the most common reply to a question about voice communications by a Black Rebel pilot would be, "We do that?"  And the voice comms have nothing more to do with today's story than as just a preamble...

So, as I was saying, I was setting up the mumble service.  In the meantime Jack Dancer was floating in space in Heild in his safe spot where he can scan around to look for targets.  The safe spot was not aligned with any other routes in space and was one that I've used for weeks.  On my way there I had noticed that someone had combat probes active in the system, but assumed they were probing out mission runners or miners or something shiny and worth a lot more than my beat up rifter.

So, after getting mumble working and ready for some final sound checks, I flipped back to the Eve screen to see if there were any new juicy targets for Jack to destroy.  Instead of juicy targets there was an Armageddon battleship sitting nearby with it's combat drones out and whizzing around menacingly!  YOW!  Battlestations!  Battlestations!  Flee!  Flee!

Fortunately, he hadn't locked onto my little rifter yet (it probably would take a while for a battleship to sort out such a small target) so the drones hadn't started to destroy me and my warp engines weren't scrambled.

I escaped and immediately deleted that "safe" spot.

It was a very close call and I reported the incident in the R1FTA non-voice channel.  We had a laugh about a battleship stalkng a frigate.  But a few minutes later Eraebus asked if anyone was game for trying to catch that battleship.  I was fine with the idea and volunteered to again let him scan me down while others could come along and destroy him.  We thought that he was using a Helios covert ops ship to do the scanning and that he was dual boxing.  Tavisturus in a Caldari Navy Hookbill also joined the fleet.  Eraebus was flying an Imperial Navy Slicer.  We were all in little frigates.

I set up a new "safe" spot near the sun and waited.  Sure enough combat scanner probes started getting very close to me.  It was tense.  And soon after I was visited, not by the Armageddon battleship, but by a Stiletto interceptor.  This is a ship especially designed for the job of nailing down an opponent and holding him for others to destroy.  I knew it was trouble.  Either the opponent was triple boxing (Armageddon, Helios, and now a Stiletto) or there were more than one of them stalking me.

I immediately turned everything up to 11 and tried to attack the Stiletto.  Unfortunately, Stilettos are much faster than my Rifter.  So I didn't really have much chance of catching him and with a long point he could keep my warp engines dead from 20km away.

I called in the rest of the R1FTAs and we started chasing him.

Now, for some reason, I DID catch the Stiletto.  Maybe he was avoiding one of my comrades and flew towards me.  Maybe he was distracted by the other ships he was flying (flying three ships at once can be confusing...).  Maybe one of the other rebels webbed him and slowed him down.  I don't know.  But I did manage to scramble his engines and put a web on him.  Then I started orbiting and pounding him with my 150mm autocannons.  Eraebus and Tavisturus joined in the destruction.

About this time the Helios arrived.  And the Armageddon.

The arrival of the Helios was a complete mystery.  It had no guns or reason to be there.  I can only assume it was a complete blunder by the pilot (again, possibly confused trying to fly three ships at once).

Once the Stiletto was destroyed I burned for the Helios in hopes of catching it.  Eraebus had the same idea and destroyed it before I got there (probably with one or two shots - it was a flimsy thing).

We then turned our attention to the battleship.  The aptly named Armageddon.  It was not a flimsy thing...

It had drones out and we first targeted and destroyed those.  The big lasers (Dual Heavy Pulse Laser IIs) on the battleship were having a terrible time targeting our fast little frigates and were no danger to us.  The drones on the other hand had to be destroyed or they would kill us.  With three of us targeting the drones, it was no problem.  They died and we settled in on the task of killing the battleship.

I orbited at 500 meters and pummeled the beast with my autocannons and rocket launcher.  Unfortunately, I hadn't expected to live this long, so hadn't brought sufficient supplies with me.  My rockets ran out relatively quickly and I was left with just the autocannons.

The Armageddon was low on shields and soon into armor.  Then things slowed down.  The three of us continued to pour on the damage, but when he lost about a third of his armor he was able to repair enough to keep the damage stable.  We were at a stalemate.

But, unlike the webbed and scramed battleship, we had options.  Eraebus headed back to the station and returned with a Rupture.  A cruiser could put out more damage than our little frigates.  That turned the tide in our favor.  The battleship's armor started disappearing and, after I reloaded with the last of my ammo, the battleship blew up!  The pod was caught and also destroyed.

Victory for R1FTA!

I had 19 shots remaining in my autocannons.  We looted the field and headed home.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Well, I've been busy...

I decided to try flying something other than my rifter for a change - and chose a slasher with a fit to kite and pepper my unlucky opponent with barrage from afar.  So far, the plan has killed no one and I've lost three slashers...

The first was the one I previously reported losing to the sentinal.

The second was a vain attempt to kill a rupture (that's a cruiser, much bigger than my little slasher frigate) at the DED site in Heild.  I was surprised (and encouraged) by how well the slasher did.  I was never close to surviving, but it took a while for the rupture to kill me and I managed to target and kill a couple of his T2 drones and made him recall them to avoid my wrath.  I took that as a moral victory.  Eventually, I exploded.  But it was a better showing than I've had in the past when drones started whizzing around.

Then there was a battle with an incursus.  Since they re-balanced the frigates (all except for the rifter...) the incursus has been a beast.  This one was no exception.  I think there was a certain amount of pilot error involved too, since I had the set-up to do well against the blaster toting incursus.  I should keep range (6km) and shoot my helpless prey with barrage.  His short range blasters shouldn't hurt me as much as I would be hurting him.  Dictating range has never been my strong suit - usually in fights so many things are happening and the adrenalin is constricting my eyeballs so much that it's all a blur.  Same in this case.  In relatively short order Seliah Alard's incursus destroyed me.

Which, in a roundabout way brings me to RvB.  That's the alliance that Seliah Alard is a member of (his corp is the Red Federation).  Over the weekend I joined the Red Federation with one of my alts.  This alt has been roaming wormholes and NPC null sec in a stealth bomber.  So, since it seemed pretty obvious that I need practice killing things - I had him join RvB.

For those that don't know, RvB includes two corps (Red Federation and Blue Republic) that are continually at war with each other.  They mostly fly small ships (frigates, destroyers, and cruisers are most common) and battle in a couple systems that lie between their two headquarters.  Undock, target an enemy and start shooting.  Simple as that.  I'm hoping that practice will help with my adrenalin management and battle awareness...

Unfortunately, my alt is specifically trained to shoot big missiles from stealth bombers - so I'm  training him to shoot hybrids and also picking up the other frigate skills that I passed over when training him.  But he should be ready in a couple weeks to fly frigates with T2 modules.

If the first weekend of RvB action is any indication, it should be an interesting experience.  They put 10,000 fully T1 equipped frigates (yes - ten thousand) in a POS in a nearby system and gave members (both Red and Blue) the password.  We could fly our pods in, pick up a frigate, fly out to a mass of other frigates, and shoot anything in sight (we were all in the same fleet to make it ok with the authorities - this was in high sec).  My alt could only fly the breacher frigates which were equipped with rockets and managed to get a few kills and to lose twice as many ships.  There were about 100 people active (the event started 24 hours before) and there were hundreds of frigates of all makes and models still available.

Ten thousand fully fitted frigates.


Now back to Jack Dancer.  I'll be flying rifters this month - Peri Simone of R1FTA is sponsoring a contest with prizes for the alliance members that have the most kills while flying a rifter in the month of November.  What better excuse to get rid of some of the hundreds of rifters that I have piled up here and there?

I picked up my first kill today.  I was at a high sec gate after taking a quick trip to Hek to see if I could catch any of our war targets out sightseeing.  One of our war targets appeared in the system, so I held on the gate in hopes that they would be heading towards me.  They were.  It was Lilith Briggs in an atron.  I've died to atrons before, but that didn't stop me from trying to catch her on the gate.  It didn't work - she jumped through.  But on the far side she was waiting.  I turned everything up to 11 and attacked.  Things went very well and very soon she exploded.  GFs were exchanged in local.  And I see from the kill  mail that she was T1 fit - that would explain my good fortune.  But a kill is a kill - both for my personal Death to Flying Things Campaign and for the Rifter Contest.

Death to Flying Things score: 17-43-1