Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to basics

Ok, after flying around with a nice new Taranis (interceptor) setup, I spent a couple of days not having much luck finding anyone. But then I found Servenser and his Rifter sitting in a belt. I decided to engage, and quickly moved in. Unfortunately, he was well equipped to deal with me and my interceptor, and in the space of about 10 seconds, I watched in shock as my shields-armour-hull were whittled down before I had a chance to do a damned thing about it.

With that all too familiar ring in my ears from my exploding ship, I sat there in my pod, shaking my head to try and clear the dizziness, and then I quickly warped away to a safe spot.

The Taranis failed me. I used a setup suggested by my new teacher, Garmon, but it didn't matter. The other guy was better. And it 'only' cost me 22 million ISK (for ship and equipment) to realise there was no point spending so much money on failures.

So after dying to Servenser and his friend, Taranis Sinarat in a Manticore, I went back and jumped into 'Cherie', my trusty Thorax, which at half the price of an interceptor, is much better value. I've had 'Cherie' for quite a while now, and she just hasn't failed me. Every time I've got a kill in a Thorax, it's been THIS ship. It's named after an old girlfriend of mine; very beautiful she was....

I joined up with Garmon, and together we went on a bit of a patrol. Me in my cruiser, him in his Rupture. We found a Thrasher (destroyer) roaming the asteroid belts, and after pinpointing which belt he was in, we warped in and engaged.

It was over relatively quickly. My drones and blasters smashing away at the Thrasher, and Garmon's Rupture doing most of the damage, the destroyer wasn't able to last too long. We let the pod get away, and Garmon grabbed the loot while I scooted out to a safe spot.

We continued searching for a while longer, but I was fading fast. It was past my bedtime, so I said farewell for the night and went back to dock.

I was doing some solo hunting tonight, and found a lone Rupture in a belt. I've never fought a Rupture before, so I thought I'd give it a go. I warped in at 100km and sized him up. He didn't move to me, so I activated the MWD and started moving in. I got to within about 50km and activated the target lock. At the same time as I got a lock, he dropped a bunch of ECM drones, waiting for me to come in range. With a sinking heart, I looked at the drones on the overview and knew that to continue fighting would be pointless. Against the ECM drones, I would have some serious issues trying to keep a lock on the guy.

So I immediately started to a warp, following the same trajectory as what I'd been travelling so I could reduce the align time and get out of there fast. Just as the warp engaged, he got a warp disruptor beam on me - I could see it beginning to surround my ship - but he was literally a second too late and I escaped the energy tendrils and warped away from the asteroid belt.

In the local comm channel he squawked his surprise that I must have had warp stabilisers, but I told him I'd already started warping out when he tried disrupting me, so he was too late. Then he questioned why I didn't want to fight, and I told him that it'd be stupid of me to fight when he had all those ECM drones waiting for me.

He expressed his sadness that everyone runs when he drops the drones, and I told him he should have dropped them AFTER I had committed to the fight, then it would've been very different as I wouldn't have been able to warp away.

Long story short, we got to talking and decided to have a duel - first to hull. I wanted to see how my Thorax would actually compare against a Rupture. We used drones, and it wasn't until he was just blasting away at my hull that his ECM drones dropped my lock on him, but even though they were late, he was still at about 80% armour when I was into the structure.

While repairing, I realised I forgot to use my armour repairer... That's what happens when you get kidnapped by Night Elves and imprisoned or more than a year... you forget how to adequately use the equipment on your ship...

So we tried again, this time without drones and just guns. I remembered to activate the armour repairer this time (still kicking myself about that), but it still wasn't any use. Once again he got me to my hull while I could only get him to about 75% armour.

So I thanked this guy for his assistance in helping me understand that a good Rupture is going to be better than a Thorax. A most invaluable lesson.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And the killing begins...

I was prowling around a system, like many systems I've prowled, when I stumbled upon Lexens, hunting rats in his Probe. I let him go, since he was only 4 days old, and he warped off. I also warped off searching for someone not so new. However, 20 minutes later, I stumbled upon Lexens again, in another asteroid belt. I'd been prowling around for over an hour with little luck, so I decided to engage this guy.

The fight didn't last very long, as you'd expect. In fact, he couldn't even do anything against my shields, and I didn't bother deploying my drones. When he exploded, his pod sat there for a minute, watching me loot his ship. I didn't bother podkilling him, I didn't feel that mean.

His pod warped away, and so did I, back to my safe spot. As I sat there looking at the mining lasers and auto-cannons and expanded cargo module, I couldn't help but remember when I first started my own adventuring days, oh so long ago.

He's no longer a virgin, after having been broken in. I was his first.

I couldn't stand the guilt - I sent him a million ISK. That should have covered the cost of his loss quite nicely.

Yes, I know... I care too much. I'm working on that. However, I figure that the more rookies I kill that are flying out there in lowsec space, the less I'll care. And the more I'll be educating them on the nastiness of lowsec space.


I'm one of those nasties now....

I think I like that.

Anyway, shortly after that incident, I received quite a shock when someone by the name of Garmon messaged me in the local comm channel. 'What the...' was my thoughts. I've read about Garmon on the message boards. People are creating religions in his name, it seems. And here he was, contacting me out of the blue!

I invited him to a private channel, and he reminded me that back in my early days I actually hauled for him when he was too lazy to do it himself. Ah, that would explain the blue icon next to his name, I thought. He's a friendly!

And so my life changed.

I'm joining his corp over the next few days, as soon as I can hand ownership of my corp over to another member. Why? So that I can learn how to fight from one of the best, who is active around the same times I'm active.

He advised me of a Taranis setup I should use, which I did, and then I joined him in a fleet he created. I was the tackler, as we attacked Schnuggiputzi's Curse, a Recon ship. The only problem is, while I was trying to get a lock on this guy, the rest of the fleet destroyed him! As a result, I wasn't included in the killmail. Dammit.

Ah well. Next time.

What kind of corp is named 'Poopoohead Patrol' anyway? They deserve to be killed just for that.

Exciting times ahead. More soon....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting back into the swing of things

I've been regaining some familiarity with ship systems and setups, and have managed to purchase a few items for my Thorax, which I hope will give my enemy combatants a nice surprise. 'Hope' being the operative word here.

I've never had the time to truly focus on PVP combat, so I've never been 'excellent' at it. I've always wanted to be, but it never worked out. Now that I'm back, I'm hoping to change that. Excellence can be learnt, and I'm looking at doing a lot of learning. And practicing, of course. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

I've linked my killmails on the right there. I've also reviewed the killboard for my own kills and losses, and I'm sure I haven't put my lifetime's killmails there. It's a shame that I'm missing a few, but so be it. I also worked out that I have a 1:4 kill/loss ratio. My ex Chief of Security, Kaenon Steel, has a 7:1 kill/loss ratio. I want to be that good...

Garmon, who I've heard so much about, and is Kaenon's hero too, has a 6:1 kill ratio.... Kaenon seems to be better with the ratio, except that where Kaenon has 94 kills, Garmon has 1,752 kills....

That's pretty impressive, and something worthwhile for me to aim for.

I've decided to do some trading again, so I can raise some funds. Need more money... Can't buy ships without it!

I've trained up some advanced e-warfare drone skills, as well as some covert ops skills. I have some goals....

I've revised the Tags for all the posts in here, to better reflect the content. If anyone wants to search for anything specific, there's always the search field at the top left of the browser window.

I've also added an 'Eve Blog Pack', a list of journals and websites that is organised by Crazy Kinux. Unfortunately, I couldn't get his method of linking to work, so I've added them manually. Please visit their sites too.

Right, so much for the administration report...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back with a bang!

Not only have I returned, but I returned with a bang!

But first, a bit of background. After returning home to my corp HQ, I discovered it was in disarray. Assets scattered across about 30 systems! It's going to take a bit of time to get everything sorted. I decided, however, that I'd sort that out later. First, some fun.

I set off to Amamake, where I had heard the asteroid belts were paved with gold, and naive adventurers were plentiful. Upon arrival, I scanned the system and found - pirates! Someone with a -9.5 security status, and 50 million bounty.

I remembered a time, oh so long ago, when finding such a pirate would have caused me to sound the call to battle, to gather a squad and hunt them down. But I was alone, and unlike my distant past, I was here to join them.

I made contact, and after a brief chat where I told them I had been out of touch for some time, but now I wanted to become a pirate, they trusted me enough to let me join their small hunting squad.

Now, I know that a random stranger such as myself, wanting to join their pirate group, must have set off alarm bells. I applaud them for trusting me. However, I didn't trust them. Old habits die hard. And so, while I was in their squad, I was constantly moving from one safe spot to another.

Unfortunately, after they had destroyed two ships without my involvement, I realised I was really wasting my time with them, so we parted ways.

I parked in a station in Auga and went to sleep. The next day, I woke up to see that Kaenon Steel had sent me a message in reply to one I'd sent him yesterday.

He used to be my Chief of Security in my corp, and is a fantastic warrior, with MANY kills under his belt. I brought up a live comm channel with him, and discovered he was in Amamake in a faction fleet, and I was invited to join them. However, I was in my Thorax, and they needed frigate or destroyers in the fleet, so I withdrew. I had no other assets in this area, so I set about purchasing a Tristan frigate and equipping it.

Halfway through this process, I decided to go on a small patrol, just for the fun of it. It's been almost a couple years since I last patrolled. But now I was BEING the pirate, instead of hunting them.

A small diversion... is one a pirate simply for looking for a fight? I think not. So what does that make me? I'll ponder that....

So, back to Amamake. I was scanning the system, and managed to pinpoint a Wolf to one of the asteroid belts. I warped in and found him sitting there. Agamaggon was his name. I activated the microwardrive and started closing in on him. I was pleased to see that he wasn't running away, and the distance between us decreased fast.

As I was closing in, I was going over my controls, making sure I knew what I was doing! Remember, it's been almost a couple of years since my last battle, so I was hoping I'd get it right.

I activated the amor hardeners, ready for combat. Upon reaching 20km, I began a target lock on him, and then while that was gaining a lock, I activated the webifier and warp disrupter. At 10km I set the dual NOS on him, and then the Neutron blasters. It was on!

We whirled around each other, energy and blaster patterns lighting up the darkness of space. He was quickly chewing through the shields, but that was ok, as my strength was the armour. I opened the drone bay doors, and unleashed all 5 of my T2 Hammerheads. The battle continued for another 20 seconds, and then I realised the Hammerheads weren't attacking. Dammit! So I ordered them to engage the target, and so they did. Stupid things. Where's the AI when you need it....

By this time my shields were gone, and he was starting to blow off chunks of armor. I activated the armour repairer, and started biting my fingernails. I was a little concerned as his Wolf was down to only half his shields, and here I was into the armour.

But it was a sign of relief from me when he turned his attention onto my drones that were quickly blasting away at him. I was able to return my armour to normal, and so I disengaged the armour repairer, while chuckling to myself that he was at half armour. I think I was winning!

Then I noticed that one of my drones was damaged, so I ordered it back to the drone bay for repairs, but I was too late. As it tried to return, it exploded in a flash. Meh, I thought, it's just a drone. Oops, there's another one seriously damaged.

As it also exploded just before entering the bay, I consoled myself with the fact that the Wolf was now having its hull blown apart. No shields, no armour, and my 3 remaining drones and the Thorax's blasters were biting into the hull.

Suddenly another ship warped in from nowhere! It was 140km away though, and my heart was beating even faster as I was looking between the distance meter on the new ship and the damage on the Wolf. Which would arrive first, I wondered with some anxiety!

But the Wolf exploded in a glorious ball of fire, while the other ship didn't move an inch. I let Agamaggon go in his pod. I had no interest in actually killing him, as my motivation here was simply to see if I could still fight. I was still wary of the new ship, still not moving. So I decided to err on the side of caution and I left behind the remains of Agamaggon's loot and scarpered for my safe spot.

If I stayed for the loot, I might have been jumped by other ships. There were, after all, another 12 or so pilots in the system. I won a good fight, and that was all I needed.

In the local comm channel, Agamaggon and I thanked each other for a good fight. It was indeed a pleasure to meet someone willing to fight. I've heard so much since returning that solo fights were rare these days, and everyone fought only in large groups. I prefer the solo fight.

I thank Agamaggon for helping me enjoy my return.

My kill mails are recorded here.

I hope to have many more! (Below is the kill mail for those that don't want to follow the link.)
2008.08.19 12:31:00

Victim: Agamaggon
Corp: Blue Phoenix Industries
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Wolf
System: Amamake
Security: 0.4
Damage Taken: 2681

Involved parties:

Name: Black Claw (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.6
Corp: Scorpion's Sting
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Thorax
Weapon: Hammerhead II
Damage Done: 2681

Destroyed items:

Gremlin Rocket, Qty: 30
200mm AutoCannon II, Qty: 3
Damage Control II
Pneumatic Stabilization Actuator I
'Limos' Rocket Launcher I
Hail S, Qty: 25
Overdrive Injector System I
Small Armor Repairer II

Dropped items:

200mm AutoCannon II
Gremlin Rocket, Qty: 1845 (Cargo)
Faint Epsilon Warp Prohibitor I
Gistii B-Type 1MN Afterburner
Hail S, Qty: 24
Hail S, Qty: 5096 (Cargo)�

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scorpion's Sting

Black Claw is back.

Not sure for how long, but I've returned to the pilot's chair. And I've decided to follow a new path, one that I've not tread before.