Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 297

Entry: two hundred ninety-seven.

I scored another kill.

Lately the victim corp has been banding together, flying in packs, watching each other's backs...all good fleet tactics. But they've gotten a bit cocky just because we wouldn't walk into their trap the other day. They had some neutral buddies there to remote repair them while we shot at them, and we knew it. Three or four versus four with invulnerability doesn't work out well for us, so, no, we didn't engage.

So, because of that, at least two of them, Vistus and Dodd, have both gotten very cocky. Vistus has been trash talking us, and Dodd I'm pretty sure bought an older character to use against us.

Unfortunately for my comrades, they're a bit sketchy on taking on gangs of two or three.

I on the other hand flew in guns blazing. It's probably a mental defect. I guess throwing defeat into the jaws of victory a few times in wormhole space has given me an appreciation of taking on odds that don't appear to favor me.

So I jumped into Bereye from Mies. Vistus and Dodd were sitting on the gate. Let's pretend this is you. Do you:
one: attack the rifter
two: attack the caracal
three: burn for the gate and jump
four: run (ie warp out out)
five: sit there while your pal gets riddled with bullets

The answers for me were one and two, in that order. The answer for Vistus was five. I'll never understand why he sat there while Dodd got the living crap kicked out of him, even while I was trying to pod Dodd. He didn't engage at all until I attacked him.

The first engagement with Vistus didn't go. I was at range, and hitting with Barrage against his shields, which doesn't work out so well. Sure he got me into half armor, but it's not like I was worried. I warped out, repaired, came back, and repeated. He launched drones, I shot them down, warped out and repaired again, and came back. Clearly I did the same thing again. The last thing I wanted was to get into webbing range of him and become a sitting duck, so I kept at range, not knowing if he had a web or not. I warped out again, came back, and found Dodd now waiting for me in a Rupture.

I'm not a fool. Two cruisers versus Wolf equaled not this Wolf. I jumped out and went about my daily business while waving my kill in front of Riddick's face. Riddick had been on for a while, but had not felt like jumping into a group to fight them. He's had bad luck getting kills this week. Me stealing them isn't helping his case.

Looking back on that combat though, I should have bit the bullet and orbited at eleven kilometers and attacked with EMP rounds. It's technically in range for me, and he wasn't going any faster than I was. I could probably have ripped through his shields with ease if I had done that, and probably would have landed the podding on him as well, which, if I must say so, would be nice payback for the trash he's been spewing at us. Arrogance must be fought at every turn where it isn't deserved.

After that Rifter kill, I noticed something strange about an hour later when I engaged Dodd and someone else. Dodd was in another Rifter and someone else was in a Thorax.

Naturally, I attacked.

Dodd got away somehow almost into structure...I thought maybe I had just let him slip out of warp disruptor range. So I engaged the Thorax, and when he went into armor, he warped out too. This was despite my warp disruptor on him!

They were using warp core stabilizers. In case anyone has forgotten, they seriously screw up your ability to fight period. They cut your targeting range in half and your targeting speed in half. Probably something else too, they're that bad. So, clearly these guys are feeling the edge a bit in that they're stabilizing Rifters and Thoraxes.

Seriously, I may be in a Wolf, but I'm not suicidal. Attack me instead of sitting there like a doofus and maybe I won't get away, or at least won't get that kill next time.

Because I got the most kills for every war our corp had this week, I got fifteen million ISK in door prizes, five for each war. In the war against the Crimson Hellhounds, I scored the only two kills by destroying then podding The Garantine. In our war against Starhug, I scored the only two kills by destroying SkyDragon's Punisher and pod. In our war with the Black Merc's, I've scored the majority of kills, which would be seven. All in all, I've had a fairly decent week of combat .

And with that, our war with the Black Mercs draws to a close.

Computer: terminate recording.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 292

Entry: two hundred ninety-two.

After some consideration, I've left my now previous corp with some friends, Crimson Light Horse Brigade, and joined them to form Spartan Guard. We declared three wars almost right from the outset.

Having never been in a war before, I never realized how painful finding a war target could be. The target might be docked, at a safe spot, or winging by in a shuttle. This on top of the fact that it can be easy to lose a target in one of those transit hub systems.

You know the kind, they have five plus jump gates in them. Unless you're right on the guy's heels, you might never find him, much less catch him.

I did manage to snag ten kills today despite that. That includes pods however, so only three involved an actual explosion.

The first kill, or rather kill plus pod, was a ratter. That's right, he was ratting, but at a celestial beacon which I rather stupidly forgot to check, and thus had to wait at a likely exit gate for him to come to me. As luck would have it, he did, and in a Catalyst no less versus my Rifter. He should have been able to smash me into dust, but given his age, he likely has not seen much combat, and that led to his downfall and subsequent mental transference into a brand new body. He was on autopilot, and I orbited him tightly, raking into his shields, armor, and hull with fiendish rage. When he appeared in his pod, it suffered the same fate.

After this fight, I joined a fleet with Dread Delgarth and went about searching out more targets. After some fruitless searching, Dread Delgarth managed to lure out a Battlecruiser, a Drake. He had had an unfortunate run in with the pilot of this cursed Drake earlier and was nearly blown up.

This had encouraged the enemy. The Drake pilot he had fought earlier was feeling like he could take on Dread Delgarth. Delgarth had, of course, changed to a more traditional Drake fit, and could easily outclass the other pilot on his own. As they began the engagement, Dread gave me the go ahead to jump in system and engage.

Without fail, I warped to the wrong station.

I got the correct station from Dread and then I warped to the correct station this time, outside of which the engagement was taking place, and opened fire in my Wolf on the aforementioned Drake.

This is where the situation would have gone badly for Delgarth had I not come in: The Drake pilot had friends, and they both warped in as well. One was in a Stabber, one in a Bellicose. Even though Delgarth was more than capable of destroying one or even two of them by himself, the combined forces of three would likely have cost him his ship, undoubtedly more expensive than the Drake which we toasted earlier.

But since I was there, we made short work of the Stabber, and then the Bellicose. The Bellicose pilot had the misfortune of being the last to blow up, and had the misfortune of also being podded.

We looted the wrecks as much as we could, with their spy ex-corpmate Manik holding position in an industrial ship right near one of the wrecks. I took what I could, then destroyed the wrecks.

We took a short break. Or rather, we meant to. On the way back to base, I came across another war target.

I came across him via looking at local. I knew what he could fly somewhat and not effectively, so I waited at a gate for him, wondering if he was actively participating in the war against us. As it turned out, he did not exit the system via my gate, which led to his corp's staging area. With my little history of him, I reasoned that I knew where he lived and that I should head that way in the hopes of catching him for another kill.

I tracked him. I had to follow him for four jumps before I managed to get just enough ahead of him that I could destroy his ship and take his loot before he could leave. Without hesitation, I opened fire on his shuttle, which was on autopilot in a time of war, and then his escape pod.

We had a convo afterwards, and it turns out that he had no idea we were at war. His CEO seems not to have told him. That sucks for him, and his corp, since first blood was drawn in self defense. Second blood as well.

After this rather vindictive yet unsatisfying kill, Ranger reported that he had maneuvered nearby to some miners and a hauler. On an high, and in my Wolf, I asked where.

"It's in Amarr space."

Of course it was. Of course. I can't fly into Amarr space without the Amarr navies trying to roast me on a spit. Feeling a bit drugged on adrenaline though, I bit the bullet and go for it. I flew deep into Amarr territory, outrunning the Navy at every turn. Warp, jump, warp, jump...twelve times. And our targets were spread out three jumps prior to the system I needed to get to, so of course, the targets were warned, and they got away, and docked up.

So there I am, deep in Amarr territory, constantly warping around, staying ahead of the Navy, and then I jump into the target system seeing a war target go through.

I had no idea what was waiting for me on the other side, but I didn't fly into space where my head is worth untold fortunes to turn back. I jumped through and immediately attacked the man that went ahead of me, a war target. I pummeled him even as the Imperial Navy assaulted me. I took him and his silly escape pod out while under fire, and warped away to evade the Navy yet again.

After that, the kills ceased coming in, and after hunting rather fruitlessly for an hour, my corpmates and I made our way back to base. I made sure to loot wrecks that didn't belong to me on the way, trying to get someone to shoot at me so I could blow them up. Alas, it was not to be.

All said and done, even though they were relatively new capsuleers, I cost one corporation at least sixty million ISK. This estimate does not include lost implants from poddings, which no doubt numbers in roughly the hundred million ISK range, assuming a decent set of plus three implants. For hi-sec miners and industrialists and missioners, it's not easy replacing those things.

There were plenty of opportunities for them to kill me. Like when I jumped in to attack that last frigate. If three out of eight of them had shown up and attacked me I would undoubtedly have lost my ship, and it would have been a well deserved victory. The first batch of killings was close, except for me being there, but another few of them would have made all the difference and probably done us in.

But this is how I learned. Through failure. The resolve to become better is what gets you through and makes you more able, more experienced, and in this way, more deadly.

Computer: terminate recording.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 285

Entry: two hundred eighty-five.

Yesterday I logged in to the sound of boredom.

Some corpmates, Aelith, Moph, and Riddick, in particular, were rather bored. So bored in fact was Aelith that he was actually considering just going to work.

We really need to war-dec someone. I have no idea why it hasn't happened yet. I got my yellow skull before the week was out, and I'm doing my best to not wreak some violence on some poor soul, or even some of those pirates I enjoy reading about so much, just for the thrill of combat. Fighting them probably means them wreaking it on me, but that's how it goes.

I announced that I was planning to go roam low-sec. My plan? Act like a newbie, rat, hopefully get someone to aggress me so that I can attack them without losing anymore security, and generally have a good time or die trying.

With a plan like that, it couldn't go anywhere but wrong.

Aelith, Moph, and Riddick joined me. After putting together our crap fleet of two Rifters, one Merlin probably Rail/Missile fit, and my Thrasher, we jumped into Hagilur.

Unfortunately for us, we did more ratting than actual killing by one hundred percent, which is to say, zero killing, because no one would aggress us, despite the nine other people in local. In fact, no one so much as warped near us.

We repeated this trend for a few more systems before deciding that null sec was a better opportunity.

We arrived in EOA-ZC, and the whole trip we saw practically no one in local. Entry into that first null sec system was the same. It was nice to see two warp bubbles leading to the gate from any celestial body though, as we hoped to take advantage of it later. Until such a time however, I flew off grid and made a safe spot for various reasons, one of which was to avoid flying into the bubbles in an attempt to get out.

After that, since there was no one in local, and we all needed to make some headway into sec status in case of pirating in Ebodold again, we went ratting, and encountered some belt rats, one of which was a Guristas Obliterator.

"Dude, they're going to chew us apart!" groaned Riddick. 

Thankfully, I had a bit of null sec ratting experience in small ships and knew that this would not be the case. We proceeded to obliterate the Obliterator, with me cawing at the end, "Hey, I thought he was supposed to Obliterate us!"

A hurricane popped on local. We made our way to the gate, but are confused because the pilot, Vile Plague, is blue to us. After a minute, he makes up our mind for us and locks us.

At this point we should have run. If someone aggresses you on the gate, it can't go well for you. Then again, we were there for bloodshed, his or ours, and blue or not, it was going down right there.

I would like to say that it all went well from there, that we smacked him hard. It's really the reverse though. Hobogoblin II's literally tore Aelith's Rifter apart while I downed two or three of those nasty little buggers, and during this a Falcon piloted by his alt, also named Vile Plague, jammed out Riddick and Moph completely. An Ishkur who was also blue apparently jumped in, but I don't think it participated in the fight as it didn't show on any killmails.

Aelith imitated the big bang, and I played follow the leader maybe fifteen seconds after that. I'm pretty sure Moph went out in a blaze of glory, and Riddick was the only one to get away with his ship intact, which, incidentally, was my ship, since I traded it to him at Hek so that he need not lose his more expensive Hurricane.

We all got away, all but Riddick in pods since he was flying the loaner Rifter. Even though we got owned, we still had a much better time than we would have running missions, plexes, or mining.

Computer: terminate recording.