My Gallente drone education has been advancing quickly. I recently purchased and began using tech 2 scout drones for increased damage, speed and durability. The price is much, much higher at about 750,000 isk per Hammerhead II medium drone, but when flying my Vexor where the drones are 90% of my DPS it is well worth the cost. With this increased cost in drones, it is now we over 10,000,000 isk per fully equipped Vexor cruiser, even if I only put in five Hammerhead II and and five Warrior II drones without any backups. Fortunately I have also begun taking on more difficult missions for the Gallente Federation Navy and in turn have received an increase in salary to the point that this isn't an unreasonable amount. I am extremely relieved that the Fed Navy and it's agents are not concerned with my CONCORD empire security rating because it took a huge nose dive just recently.
A well known and talented pirate once gave me advice about a region of space that they frequented for their pirating activities. Back during this time, I was still flying an Incursus as my ship of choice and while I had participated in several gang kills, I had never had a solo kill of any kind in my frigate or any other ship. So I packed up an Incursus and flew to the region of space that had been recommended to me and entered the first low security sector I could, a system called Old Man Star. OMS it turns out is an extremely active system and has become by far my favorite. We take trips to it these days through all low security space. It is about 20 jumps through areas that are usually uninhabited and when we finally arrive in OMS it is almost like our reward for having had the patience to warp and scan through the boring areas. There are always pilots looking for combat and usually the match-ups are reasonable being other cruisers and battlecruisers. My first solo kill ever occurred on that night I flew my Incursus in, found an Imicus ratting at a belt and killed it.
Just yesterday we took one of our trips to Old Man Star. We traveled through the many low security jumps as always, hoping to find something there but as usual came up empty handed. We were a gang of mostly smaller ships: an Ares interceptor, an Arbitrator cruiser and two Vexor cruisers including myself. We landed in OMS and immediately scanned out several potential targets in belts. I scanned around myself and found what appeared to be a Gallente assault frigate in a belt. It was an Ishkur, a small drone carrying frigate that was smaller but similar in function to my Vexor (although about three times as expensive for the ship itself). I warped in at 100 km and the Ishkur was sitting there waiting. I was sure this was just a baited trap so I sat tight. The Ishkur started flying towards me and I decided I would engage. Even if it was a trap an Ishkur wasn't something I couldn't handle and I had my gang to call in. We mirrored tactics by launching our drones, microwarpdriving at each other and then locking into a close webbed orbit. The difference between our tactics was that I focused all my firepower on the Ishkur itself, including my small blasters, where as the Ishkur focused its guns on trying to destroy my drones. Most of the battle was over before my gang mates even warped in. The Ishkur had barely destroyed ONE of my Hammerhead II drones and was barely even into my armor when he popped. I grabbed the loot and his drones and noticed that a large majority of what he had equipped, drones, guns, ammo and more were all tech 2. For the uneducated, tech 2 gear is expensive and very difficult to use, requiring a very significant amount of education but it is also very effective.
This experience was a bit of a discouraging testament towards assault frigates. The Ishkur is one of the most praised of them all and the pilot obviously had more skills, experience and equipment than myself yet I managed to easily defeat it. Even if the pilot had kept me at further range and tried popping my drones, I had backups to deploy and his Hobgoblin II's were not doing damage nearly fast enough to have out damaged my Hammerhead II's. I can take more damage, fit bigger modules and fit bigger drones and my ship costs significantly less before fitting. Last I checked, an Ishkur ran about 12,500,000 isk and the last Vexor I bought was 3,750,000.
So we spent some more time in OMS after that and also managed to kill a Rupture cruiser although his friend in a Vexor escaped thanks to warp stabilizers. We destroyed the pod of the Rupture pilot and as an unfortunate result I am now not welcome in half of the empire sectors. I am going to have to spend some time convincing CONCORD that I am not a security threat before I am allowed back into the highest security areas including nearby trading hubs. It is a pain but a small price to pay for the rush that combat brings.
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