Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lovin' Babe! What a Month!

Looking back at the month of January is pretty startling.  Check out my killboard (not something I obsess over as regular readers might have noted…) – I have more kills in January that I’ve had in all of my previous months in Eve combined!  Jack Dancer was born on May 11, 2011 and in the year and a half previous to January 2013 he only had 26 kills (many of them discussed here).  In January he had 36 (previous best month was 5 back in September).  YOW!  And he had a 2-1 positive ratio of kills to deaths (36 kills vs. 18 deaths).  DOUBLE YOW!!

Some of January's numbers were due to participating in the Tusker Free For All (13 kills and 8 deaths).  But mostly two factors have boosted my PvP activity and success:

  1. The move from Heild to Auner
  2. Joining RvB with an alt
Auner is an excellent system for PvP.  Check out the map – Auner is a side system off the main route between high and low sec in Metropolis.  People have to detour to end up here.  Most traffic goes Hek-Hror-Resbroko-Hadozeko (or vice versa).  People have to take a turn off the main route to get to Auner.  That means we get a variety of miners, ratters, and FW participants looking for a quiet spot to ply their trade.

Auner being a contested Faction Warfare system is a great PvP incentive – there are often FW complexes available for FW people to do whatever it is they do in there.  Me, I just land and shoot whoever might be around.  It’s been fun and I’ve had some excellent fights from the FW crowd.  They usually fly PvP-fit frigates or destroyers and many of them are very competent pilots.  And I often head out through Resborko-Hadozeko-Klogori-etc. for solo roams through the FW systems.

I'm also getting confident enough to take on bigger targets.  When flying a rifter or slicer I'll take a crack at destroyers and faction frigates (and have had some luck against both of them).  Check out this thrasher killmail and this firetail killmail as examples.  And even 1v2s (like recently when I was able to kill one rifter but not the other (though I had him in structure when I exploded)...).  I came so close to victory that I tried it a second time with those same pilots with identical results.  And then there was the Stabber Fleet Issue that I tackled at an FW site that led to a fun (and surprisingly long) fight with me eventually blowing up when he was able to slingshot into enough range to have his guns hit me.  But I think xxWarchildxx might have almost been slightly nervous for a short while during that duel...  Almost...

Another very important factor in my recent PvP success is having an alt in RvB.  I’ve been having a lot of solo fights there, learning alot, and enjoying it very much.  I’ve even flown in a few fleets.

This past weekend RvB had a Free For All with 30,000 (thirty thousand!) free T1-fit frigates of all types.  I skilled up my character so that he could fly any frigate and shoot any weapon.  I flew everything from a Rifter to an Imicus to a Punisher to a Executioner to an Ibis.  It was great fun to jump into a frigate, see what it was equipped with (some had only remote reppers and no guns - others might have one laser, one autocannon, and one railgun - and some might be excellent ships like a dual rep Incursus).  It was a real learning experience to fly all the different frigates and fighting against them - plus having more than 100 opponents churning around a gate/station/belt fighting each other was amazing.  A favorite was flying the dual rep Incursus for the first time (I was on 21 killmails with that ship before it finally exploded) and it might be a focus of Jack’s future training.  The Frigate Free For All was great fun.

In the two months that I’ve been in RvB I have more than 200 kills (and more than 100 losses).  It’s been a great way to get experience and learn to relax a bit during combat.  I highly recommend RvB to any new pilots out there looking for PvP experience.

Of course, all this fun has come at a price with Jack Dancer's security status now down past the important -5.0 point (appropriately dropped to those depths when podding an Eve Uni player who was sitting in a Imicus at zero on the sun in Auner with scanning probs out...).  So now that I'm a red flashy character any forays into high sec will come at the risk of being shot at by everyone.  Looks like I'd better settle in and enjoy Auner and the neighborhood...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

I stopped by the computer on a Saturday morning to see if there was any activity in Auner.  Usually there's someone around that I can harass and today was no different.  An Imperial Navy Slicer was in the direction of one of the FW sites, so I headed over to check it out.

Usually I would shy away from a slicer.  It's a much more expensive advanced frigate and as the Eve description says, "the skilled Slicer pilot is able to take out most frigates with ease."  Hmmm...  Let me repeat the last part of that description, "take out most frigates with ease".

But recent kills have created a sense of confidence in me (YOW!  That's a scary thought!) and as I headed there I thought, "Well, it's been a while since I've lost a ship..."

My slasher was loaded with barrage and had an optimal range tracking disruptor included - so my plan was to set the orbit at around 6k and hope that the lasers that the slicer would be shooting couldn't hit me.

I landed on the empty gate and jumped through.  The Imperial Navy Slicer was 40k away and I started burning towards him.  He turned and headed towards me!

My plan to orbit at 6k was immediately made inoperative by the slicer's preference to orbit at 20k.  He had my warp drives inactivated due to a warp disruptor and all I could do was chase him.  So I set an orbit of 30k (in hopes of slipping away from his warp disruptor sometime) and let fly with my 200mm autocannons.  After a few minutes we were both halfway through shields, but neither of us was concerned since we both relied on armor for our real defense.

Then the slicer pilot got impatient and tried to approach to do some real damage with his lasers.  I managed to note this fact (something that 6 months ago I probably wouldn't have) and tried to go back to my original plan of a 6k orbit and barrage-him-to-death.  His laser quickly went through my shields and into my armor, but my repairer did yeoman duty in recovering the damage.  I also was doing some serious damage to the slicer and was into his armor too.

He returned to his 20k orbit (I might have been slow on webbing him to keep him from leaving quickly) and we were back to the stalemate.

Then he again made the approach to attack and we had a re-do of the previous experience.  But this time it was to the death.  Truth be known, I was sure my slasher was doomed.  I quickly went through my armor and found a celestial for my escape - I began spamming the warp key to get my pod out safely.  All the while my 200mm autocannons continued their damage to the slicer and it's laser continued to eat back the armor that my repairer recovered.  I had some of my hull torn away.

Then I heard the explosion.  I expected my overview to go blank as my pod warped away, but instead it was the slicer that had exploded.  My slasher (not my pod!) was warping to the celestial! \\o//

GFs were exchanged in local - it really was one of the best fights I've ever been in - and I returned to the scene to collect the loot from the wreck (which was a very good idea because there was a Gistii B-Type 1MN Microwarpdrive in the wreckage that sells for 33million isk in nearby Hek...)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thrasher on Scan!

I popped out of the Auner station in my rifter with the intent of heading to a nearby source of skillbooks to buy Jack Dancer the Gallente Cruiser book.  He’s currently working on skills in preparation of the summer changes to destroyers and battlecruisers.  I’m getting all of his racial frigate skills (Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, and Minmatar) up to at least 4, his destroyer skill to 5, his racial cruiser skills up to at least 3 and his battlecruiser skill up to 5.  From my understanding, this will allow him to fly any destroyer or battlecruiser after those two ships are split into racial type skills.

But that’s not what I’m writing about here.

So, as I said, I popped out of the Auner station in my rifter and did a quick dscan to see if any of the half dozen pilots in the system were loitering in the neighborhood.  A thrasher appeared on scan.  Having had luck against a thrasher (not to mention his backup talwar) the previous evening, I took time to sort out where this thrasher might be.  He was at a nearby asteroid belt – probably ratting.  I turned all the knobs up to 11 and headed that way to land at zero!

When I landed, he was 30k away.  I headed towards him and turned on the afterburner.  I also remembered to turn off the overheating on it so that it would get one cycle of overheated speed, but then not burn out my web and scrambler if I forgot to turn it off later (it has happened…  several times...).  The thrasher headed my way too.  The fight was on!

My rifter had 400mm rolled tungsten armor plates but no armor repair unit.  And it was loaded with barrage ammo in the three 150mm autocannons along with a rocket launcher.  My plan was to orbit at a distance (5000 meters seemed about right) and use the barrage’s superior falloff to damage the destroyer while avoiding his 7 autocannons shooting (hopefully) shorter ranged ammo that wouldn’t hurt me as much.  If he was artillery fit and could hit me from long range while kiting around me, then it would be a problem.

It wasn’t a problem as far as kiting – he was shooting autocannons like me – and it was a very good fight.  I set my orbit for 5500 meters and we did damage to both ships.  I was generally ahead and without an armor repper it had to stay that way.  There was no way for me to catch up on any armor damage.

I stayed ahead, remembered to turn off the overheating on the rest of my modules before anything burned up, and soon the thrasher exploded in a massive fireball of death and destruction.

GFs were exchanged in local and the pilot opened a private communication channel with me to discuss the fight.  He was impressed with the tank on the rifter and I shared the fit with him.  I think the tank probably came down to range, speed, rigs, and the thrasher firing standard ammo (he was shooting rats and probably didn’t want to spend the extra isk to kill them).  While the pilot was relatively new, he seemed very knowledgeable and experienced beyond his skillpoints…

This was a much more satisfying fight against a thrasher than the previous day’s “fight”.  It was a well constructed ship and was firing seven 200mm T2 autocannons.  I felt lucky to come away with the win.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Daily Double

Last night I was working on a little project that may get reported here sometime in the near future – hauling some equipment and grabbing some skillbooks (Jack Dancer needs to learn how these drone thingies work…) when I noticed the owner of the previous day’s stabber kill was back in Auner.

This time in a thrasher destroyer (I knew because the ship’s name was “ahmad maarkeer’s thrasher” – just a word of advice – it’s tougher for us nasty pirates to sort things out if you change the name of your ship**).  I scanned him down to a FW site and saw that he had a another destroyer, a Talwar, with him.  I might try one or the other with my rifter – but both destroyers?  That seemed a bit much. 

After a trip or two to Hek I sorted out the name of the talwar pilot from the comings and goings in local and he was even newer to Eve than the thrasher pilot.  So, maybe I would give a try at killing two destroyers with my frigate.

I switched over to a rifter and headed for the FW acceleration gate with everything turned up to 11.  I landed and jumped.

And I was right on top of the thrasher.  The talwar was about 30k away.  I scrambled, webbed, and orbited the thrasher – spewing out death from my autocannons.  In short order he exploded.

I then turned my attention to the talwar, fully expecting him to warp away.  But he was brave and met my attack.  Only to die in a fireball a few seconds later.

GFs were exchanged in local this time and the pilots (who I learned later were brothers) had some questions…

How did I restore the damage from the thrasher before fighting the talwar?  (answer: armor repper)

How did I turn their missiles around to attack them?  (answer: I had missiles too – it was my rockets doing the damage to the talwar – not their missiles)

Why didn’t the thrasher do more damage to my ship?  (answer: T1 weapons are not very powerful)

Why did the missiles from the talwar not hit me?  (answer: I was in a small ship going fast – missiles have a hard time hitting a target like that)

I gave them some additional advice about getting their pods out quicker and promised not to continue picking on them…

** Of course, truly nasty pirates sometimes name their ships with the name of inexperienced pilots that are in system to trick other nasty pirates into over confidence…

Monday, January 14, 2013

Two for the Price of One!

So last night I popped out of the Auner station in my trusty (errr...  "rusty") rifter to see what a scan would find.  It found a slasher (a frigate) and a stabber (a cruiser) in the direction of one of the FW acceleration gates.  I decided to give them a visit and see if maybe I could kill the slasher before dying to the stabber.

I initiated warp and turned all the dials up to 11 in anticipation of the fight.  When I landed I expected to have to jump through the acceleration gate to find them.  I didn’t know if they were together or maybe fighting each other.

So when I landed on the gate ready to jump I was surprised to find both of them loitering just a couple km away from me!  Fox in the hen house!  Or maybe in this case I was a doomed hen in a fox den!  YOW!

I immediately started orbiting the smaller ship and put all of my modules to good use.  He soon exploded!  \o/

I had barely taken any damage (maybe 20% of my shields were gone – and I was in an armor rifter), so I turned my attention to the cruiser.  I orbited close, scrambled and webbed him, and started piling on the damage.  It took just a few seconds before he was a flaming heap of wreckage!  \o/ \o/  I had lost maybe 30% of my shields at that point.  Hardly a scratch.

Looking at the killmails I can see why it was so easy.  Neither pilot (or was it the same person dual boxing?) was very experienced and neither had mounted an especially fearsome set of modules on their ship.  So hardly a time for joyous celebration at the destruction of a frigate and cruiser by my rifter.  It was a case of fox in the hen house afterall...   

I put a GF in local (which was ignored) and headed back to the station.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Me and My Big Mouth...

So I undock from Auner with a rifter and see a firetail on scan.  Excellent!  I can see how fighting a firetail feels from the other side!  I immediately track him down to a FW site and turn everything up to 11.  Attack!

It turned out to be an excellent fight.  I was flying an armor rifter with 400mm reinforced rolled tungsten plates and no repper.  It had some rigs from months ago when R1FTA had a T1 tournament, so I just updated the modules to T2 and hoped for the best.

It took a long time to get through the firetail's shields and I was hoping that once I did (I was deep in armor at that point) I could take him through armor and structure in short order.  I almost did, but in the end it was me that exploded first.  It was very close and I think he was in structure (or very close to it)...

GFs were exchanged in local and then the pilot, Goto Dengu, asked for a private conversation.  After the greeting formalities were out of the way he said,

     Goto Dengu > hey jack
     Goto Dengu > its good to see you here
     Goto Dengu > i got the idea of the firetail from you
     Goto Dengu > on your blog
     Goto Dengu > so thank you

I only have myself to blame for that rifter loss...

ps - Hi Goto Dengu!

Reign of Terror Comes to an End

Jack Dancer has a new (old) home.

With the loss of the 2/10 DED site in Heild, the Molden Heath neighborhood suddenly became a lot less interesting.  So I moved back to my old neighborhood near Hek in the Metropolis region - Auner.

Auner is a system involved in Faction Warfare (FW).  There's not the pirate population that there was in Molden Heath - but there is a lot more activity from the FW participants to make up for it.  Many of them are inexperienced - but almost all of them are flying PvP equipped ships.  And there are a lot of them.  Everywhere.

So this morning, I woke up early and made a cup of coffee (this is Seattle...) and fired up the computer.  I have been putting together some Republic Fleet Firetails lately.  I feel it's time to try something other than the rifter and the firetail seems like a natural step (check out this Scram Web posting).

I headed out on a roam...

First target to come across my path was a slasher right in Auner.  I scanned him down to a FW site and headed that way - turning everything up to 11.  I landed on the acceleration gate and jumped immediately.  A couple seconds later I landed on top of the slasher.  Excellent!  Orbit and tear the rascal apart.  I was doing well, he was through shields and armor relatively quickly and then in structure.  Then he was gone.  He warped away.  My guess was that he had installed warp core stabilizers that would negate my warp scrambler...  Bummer.

So, I decided to get clever.

I added a second warp scrambler to my Firetail (in place of the tracking disruptor) and hoped to catch that slasher and hold on to him.  I found him at another FW DED plex and landed at the gate and jumped.

This time it was a simple thing - I landed on him and tore him to pieces.

Hmmm...  When I checked the killmail, there were no warp core stabilizers on this fit.  That could only mean one thing - he had refit his ship between the first fight and the second (when in station getting repairs) to remove the warp stabilizers!

Hmmmmmm...  Or it could mean that I was fighting two different slashers and since I didn't pay attention to the name of the first pilot this was someone totally different!

Hmmmmmmmmmm...  Or maybe in the heat of the first battle I had totally neglected to turn on the warp scrambler and he had never been tied down!

Obviously, it could only mean one of three things!  Whatever.

So I continued my firetail roam and soon came across my next victim - a merlin in Ebolfer.  I fly a merlin with my RvB character, so I know how lethal they can be at close range with those nasty blasters.  In a remarkable (for me) use of tactical forethought I decided to try to stay in my autocannon falloff range (about 5k away) instead of my usual tight orbit of deathly mayhem.

It was a very good fight.  The merlin was T2 equipped and had a medium ancillary shield booster, so he was able to repair his shields in big chunks.  But my armor repairer was keeping up with the incoming damage as long as I was able to stay out of the blaster's death zone.  It was a back and forth affair, but in the end the merlin died in a huge fireball!  GFs were exchanged in local.

I continued on to Resbroko and stopped at a FW plex to do some scanning - I hoped that someone else might have the same idea and would drop in on me.  A few seconds later a rifter did just that.  This was an easier fight - the rifter was T1 equipped and he exploded!

Then after cruising through a few more systems I returned to Auner - to find a relatively new player with a destroyer (a thrasher) in a FW plex.  Not knowing how my firetail would hold up against a destroyer (they can be hell on frigates) I remembered that I had a thrasher in my hangar in Auner.  It was named "Asteroid (Veldspar)" for some reason...  I bought insurance for it and headed to the FW plex.

A Thrasher vs. Thrasher 1v1 mano a mano duel!

I landed on the opposing thrasher with everything turned up to 11.  It was a short battle and I was victorious!  \o/

And right then a pilot named xxwarchildxx landed on me in a Jaguar!  My lucky day!  I immediately scrammed and webbed the attack cruiser and hit the button to turn the wrath of my seven 150mm autocannons on the poor unfortunate wretch.  Nothing happened.  A wisp of smoke came from the panel and I saw that I had burned out my guns!  Oh No!

Nothing I could do.  The jaguar is faster than the thrasher.  He had me scrammed and webbed.  I had no guns.  I couldn't shoot him and I couldn't get away.  I put up what fight I could and it took quite a while for the jaguar to destroy me - but destroy me he did.  For good measure, I went back in a rifter (with real guns this time) and xxwarchildxx destroyed that too - but at least I got to shoot back that time...

My morning's Reign of Terror had come to an end...

I like it here in Auner.  There are plenty of opportunities to ambush unsuspecting FW participants and even some low sec miners.  While many of them are inexperienced, I've been able to give them a few pointers after the fights (like don't sit in your pod for 10 seconds after your ship has blown up!) to maybe help them out in the future.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tusker Frigate Free For All II

I chuckled when I saw this communication on one of the R1FTA communication channels...

       Angron Vail > Jack Dancer i had your corpse then was blobbed

Now, what's the story behind that quote?

Today was the second Tusker Free For All - a chance for people to fly T1 frigates and have hundreds of  targets.  When I arrived around 19:45 gametime (about 2 hours after the excitement started) there were more than 200 pilots in Jovainnen and the top belt looked like this:

Those are wrecks littering the asteroid belt.  The other belts looked similar, but most of the insane action was here at the top belt.  And there was still a a few hours of this mayhem yet to come!

I had flown a couple ships to Jovainnen yesterday and had delivered hulls and modules for 6 more to Raneilles (two jumps away in high sec) today.  My plan was to use the Jovainnen ships first and then when I needed more to fly my pod to Raneilles and build the ships there.  I was just using two models - rifter and slasher - and also just a single fit for each of them.  So it wasn't complicated.

On arrival in Jovainnen I headed to a scanning spot that I had set up yesterday and looked at the various belts to see if there was a spot that would  be less chaotic than the top belt (I had flown to within 100km of the top belt to get the photo above and to decide that it wasn't where I wanted to spend my time...).

I chose a belt and turned my trusty rifter to land at range and see what was available.  It took a while.  If you've never been at one of these events (my alt has experienced a couple with RvB so I had an inkling of what was in store) then it can be a confusing experience.  Ships flying everywhere.  People shooting each other.  You chase someone and they're chasing someone different and suddenly a third ship starts tearing you apart from behind.  Confusing and fun.

I found a merlin reasonably close and headed for him with everything turned up to 11.  He turned my way and the fight was on!  I hit the orbit button (nice and close - 500m) and started pounding him with my 200mm autocannons.  Things went well.  It was a good fight - he was shooting light ion blasters with null ammo and doing me harm.  But I was also doing well against him.  He had an auxiliary shield booster - so every once in a while the shield would pop back up to recover the damage I had done.  But my overheated armor repairer was also keeping up with the incoming damage.

Eventually I think he missed a cycle with his shield booster or something because I suddenly did some serious damage.  He was through armor in a second and soon through his hull.  He exploded. \o/

A very good start.  And it turned out that his was the most expensive ship I would kill during the event.

A few minutes later (after returning to the station for repairs on my overheated modules) I selected a rifter from the options in a belt and had a similar result.  He exploded too!

This was going very well!  I headed back to the station for repairs and headed out to the scanning spot to look over the belts to see where I wanted to try next.  I found a belt with a few frigates and headed for it.  Then I found a pilot that had stolen my name (at least my first name) and attacked Jack Valley with everything I had.  Unfortunately, it wasn't enough and pretty soon I exploded.  My reign of terror had come to an end.  But it took 4 opponents to finally stop me!

Things pretty much continued from there.  Find a target and either kill it or explode trying.  A couple times I was able to warp away in structure and a couple times my target did the same.  One battle went to the point that I was left with less than half of my hull (and I was furiously hitting the warp button to try to escape with either my ship or my pod) when my opponent blew up.

There were so many drones littering the asteroid fields that I took them off of my overview.  I tried to stay away from any drone boats because I knew I couldn't sort out which of the drones where targeting me.  There were literally hundreds of them abandoned everywhere.

At one point I landed and destroyed a tristan in short order.  Then a rifter was next to me, so I webbed and scrambled him and took him apart.  And then an incursus was there - so I tried the same with him.  Unfortunately, I was a bit beat up by that point and it turned out to be a dogpile of ships.  Several targeted me and I exploded (it looks like 8 ships damaged my slasher).  That incursus that I had gone for blew up a minute later.

On the whole people followed the "rules" for the event.  Everyone was in T1 frigates until 2100 when T2 frigates and destroyers were allowed to join the fun.  And pretty much everyone, with a few exceptions, stuck to the 1v1 spirit of the event and didn't join forces to gank people.  And there were very few poddings (which were against the rules).

Unfortunately, I stuck around until after the event ended at 24:00.  At 00:03 I destroyed a cheap slasher (aka "bait") just as his friends (thrasher, thrasher, and a crow) landed in force to tear me apart.  And, with the system a bit laggy from all the wrecks and action, my pod was slow to exit the scene and it was destroyed too.  Which brings us back to the quote at the top of the page...

       Angron Vail > Jack Dancer i had your corpse then was blobbed

I had a great time with these explosions and in the end 13 kills and 8 losses (according to the FFA killboard...).  And of those 13 kills I had the killing blow on 10 of them and was the largest damage dealer on another.  Much better than I expected.