Monday, June 10, 2013

Marco Polo

With the arrival of the Odyssey update, I’ve mostly put aside PvP (well, except for my rifter dying to a dramiel…) and have been concentrating (like seemingly everyone else) on the exploration side of Eve.  This isn’t something new for me – I probably explore more than I PvP in general.  I have an alt that wanders around high sec looking for radar, oops, I mean “data” sites and also DED combat sites in a trusty sentry drone equipped Ishtar (a great ship for this sort of thing).

With Odyssey came some major changes to exploration. 

Among the changes, probes all launch simultaneously, they are automatically placed in a scanning formation, you can adjust their location and scan range with just the mouse, and they instantaneously return after scanning.  Prior to using the new system, I had my doubts about whether I’d like it.  I had a method of scanning that was working for me and I felt that it gave me a time advantage over other explorers.  But now after using the new system, I’m sold.  Totally sold.  It’s much faster than the previous system (probably for everyone, meaning I’ve lost my time advantage).  But on the other hand my usual exploration modus operandi is to pop into the computer room at home, run through a loop of a dozen favorite systems and see if there’s anything interesting, then go back to RL.  With the new system these detours from reality are a lot quicker.

Another of Odyssey’s biggest changes came to the radar, oops, I mean “data” sites.  They experienced a huge makeover and now include a mini-game to get to the drops.  I like the mini-game generally.  It’s fun to click on spots and search for the core.  Then the cans spew out and it’s time to try to grab the good ones.  I’m not very good at this part and the results have been mediocre at best.  I’m not totally sold on this new system and I’ve now started to ignore the radar, oops, I mean “data” sites when I come across them – the payoff isn’t worth the time investment for me.

The DED combat sites (my other main target) haven’t changed – no mini-games or other new features except for the fact that Tengus (who were extremely popular with explorers and were the bane of my Ishtar’s existence on many, many, many occasions in the past) now cannot access the 3/10 and 4/10 DED sites.  \o/

So, in summary, I don't like the new data sites but I do I like the new quicker scanning system and the absence of Tengus.  And it resulted in a very profitable weekend as I hunted for the DED combat sites, so I have no complaints.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Let's Get Podded

I noticed that my clone is only good for a few more days before my training will require me to purchase a new one.  Since I'm going to be buying one in a few days anyway, maybe I should go on a roam through null sec space and get podded.

Null sec is a dangerous place for pods.  With warp bubbles (which we don't have in low sec) sometimes keeping a pod from escaping they die much more often.

So I picked a jump clone with no implants and grabbed a slasher and headed to the closest null sec gate.  It was L4X-1V in Etherium Reach.  I popped through hoping for a gate camp and some excitement.  Instead I found an empty system.  Just me.  Anticlimactic.

I passed through and jumped into the next system expecting trouble.  Empty.

And the next.  Empty.

Then after a couple more jumps through empty systems I arrived in the Great Wildlands and started going from system to system.  Sometimes there were people in the systems.  One time I spotted a tengu on dscan - but (luckily for him) he immediately either cloaked or fled to safety.

I continued on, but eventually decided to plot a route back to Heild.  It meant that I did a big loop through the Great Wildlands - in at C4-DOW and out at N-RAEL.  As I traveled on it was more of the same.  I never saw another ship through 39 null sec systems in total.

Not another ship.

Mostly totally empty systems.



Just as I was jumping out of N-RAEL and back into low sec there was a gate flash and a taranis appeared on my screen.  I hit Ctrl-Space to try to abort the jump, but I was too late.  I finally find a ship and I miss the fight.

When I arrived on the other side I immediately hit the afterburner and headed back to the gate to jump through.  Luckily, the taranis was looking for a fight too and had waited on the other side.  At range - about 40k from the gate.  I headed towards him and he headed towards me.

The taranis is fast and (in this case) shoots blasters.  Blasters need to be very close to their target - they are nasty when up close.  So my plan was to keep distance and use my barrage ammo.  Things went well for my slasher - I was able to circle at around 6k and kept him from damaging me too much.  Once, when we got close, all of my shields disappeared in a single instant!  But he was already in structure by that point and doomed.  He exploded!  GFs were exchanged in local.

So, my null sec expedition didn't have it's intended conclusion - me being podded.  But it did at least have one fight.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Five in One Night

I pulled out of the Auner station a couple nights ago looking for trouble.  I was in a classic fit 150mm autocannon armor repping rifter (I have a bunch of them that I need to get rid of) and was hoping for a brawl - no kiting missile boats need apply.

I came across outridger33 in a slasher.  Now, I know that my slasher fit does very well against rifters - the tracking disruptor and barrage ammo combination can be lethal against ships that like to be close and personal.  But I was looking for a fight and here was an opportunity.

We circled at close range (no barrage from outridger33's slasher) and started shooting.  Things did not go especially badly for me - but as I got into his shields I noticed that they recovered almost instantaneously - he had one of those ancillary shield boosters.  OK, hopefully he forgot to bring enough cap boosters...  I continued to shoot him and he continued to shoot me - he dipped into armor a bit, but recovered the shields quickly.  I started my armor repper to fix the damage his autocannons were causing.

It looked like it could go either way.  Then disaster struck.  Or, to be more accurate, his energy neutralizer tapped out my capacitor.  Suddenly things got tricky.  I would wait for a little capacitor to come back and then hit the armor repairer.  I also tried to keep the warp scrambler and web active.  It was tense and I dropped into structure a time or two, but managed to get back some armor in time to avoid destruction.  I had a bad feeling about things...

The slasher was taking lots of damage from my guns (which don't rely on the capacitor) and as I was balancing my capacitor use, suddenly he missed a shield repair cycle.  Or maybe my guns just finally overwhelmed his systems - I'm not sure since I was a bit busy myself.  But for whatever reason, the slasher exploded!  Sweet!

I immediately headed to the station for repair (after picking up the loot from the wreck).  GFs were exchanged in local and we chatted about what might have caused the slasher's demise.

I repaired the rifter and picked up a full load of ammo and left the station looking for more trouble.

There was a moros right outside the station and I immediately hit the warp drive to get to safety so that I could sort out what a moros might be.  It wasn't in my list of familiar ships (rifter, slasher, punisher, merlin, kestrel, etc.) .  A quick search noted that it is a dreadnought.  Hmmm...  That sounds out of my league.  Interestingly, the moros docked while I was sitting a couple hundred kms away and a few seconds later the same pilot, arioch1, came out in a tormentor.  A laser firing frigate - now that's definitely in my league.

We removed ourselves from the shadow of the station guns and started our battle.  Things went well for me and the rifter and after a short while the tormentor exploded!  GFs were exchanged in local and I thanked arioch1 for reshipping for the fight.  He noted that he's such a fan of 1v1s that he couldn't pass up the opportunity.

I headed back to the station for repairs and popped out again.  On dscan I noticed a slasher and also that outridger33 was back in the system.  Time for round 2?

We met and the fight was on.  Things went much like the first one, though a bit shorter, and the slasher exploded!  More GFs in local.

I returned to the station for repairs and when I popped out I scanned down a kestrel in a FW site.  Now, I'm not a big fan of fighting kestrels - they usually have missiles, microwarpdrives, and long points and from past experience I will be just sitting there dying - unable to get close enough to even shoot.  But with three kills with the rifter already, I was fine with losing it.  So I headed for the FW gate.

I popped through and hit the afterburners to try to get close to the kestrel.  But sure enough, he was shooting light missiles from a long (20k) range and able to move plenty fast.  I did my best to maneuver in hopes of getting close - I tried to slingshot into range. It didn't work, but when I turned to try again suddenly the kestrel was screaming in my direction!  I immediately webbed and scrambled him and proceeded to circle and pummel him with my autocannons.  In short order, the kestrel exploded!

GFs were exchanged in local.  I noted that I was lucky to get close to him and Astriel Estinari said that he had screwed up.  I agreed with him...

Again back to the station to drop off the loot and get repairs (not nearly as many repairs from this fight).

And then out again looking for more trouble in my rifter.

This time I found a rifter in a FW site.  Excellent!  I headed that way turning everything up to 11 and jumped through the gate.  The two rifters began destroying each other as best as we could.  It went very well for me.  When the other rifter was through shields and into his armor a friend of his arrived in an incursus.  I continued to pummel the rifter, but also targeted the incursus.  A few seconds later the rifter exploded!

Now, at this point, I should be writing that I immediately pointed and webbed the incursus and took it down too in a fiery explosion.  But that didn't happen.  I thought I had done all that, but there was some confusion with the controls and for whatever reason I was laying waste to the incursus while not actually having it's warp engines scrambled.  When it was part way through armor, it flew away...

But, even with that miss, it was a most successful evening.  The rifter did very well against well fit opposing fhips flown by experienced pilots.  A very fun time - at least for me!