Sunday, May 11, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

Combat and pirating in the universe of Eve is commonly dramatized and exaggerated. Most common folk believe that it is non-stop action with every minute packed chock full of close solo duels. This is not true. A large majority of the time is spent wandering around looking for a fight but not being able to find any targets. When you do finally find someone worth attacking they are usually part of a gang, in a considerably stronger ship and/or smart enough to flee before you can lock them down. It has now been a little longer than 60 days since I graduated and became a full time pilot and in that time I have picked up 24 confirmed kills and 13 losses. If you remove rookie ships and capsules from that count, it is more like 20 kills. That is approximately one kill every three days that I have been in action. What I am trying to explain here is that kills are not common and they are not easy to attain. It takes time, effort, skill, awareness and luck to pin down and defeat an opponent so when it happens it leads to quite a rush and sense of accomplishment.

The last stat I will throw out here is that 11 of my 20 true kills have been solo. These are the truly exhilarating ones. You and one other pilot locked into a struggle to the death. Two of these eleven kills occurred this night in a small pirate system near my home. It is usually loaded with large ships and gangs that I do not dare engage but for some reason tonight it was loaded with frigates, destroyers and cruisers itching to fight. I was roaming with the Vexor setup that I have detailed in earlier records and up until the end it proved to be extremely effective. My first victim was an older pilot than myself flying a Caldari Comorant. I had been trying to scan her down to a belt but had been unsuccessful. I warped into one belt and sat for a moment pondering my next move when she warped in directly on top of me. Needless to say, a destroyer is no match for a plated cruiser and I very quickly destroyed her and looted some nice faction ammo and T2 modules from her wreck. It was a nice rush getting a kill on a destroyer but it was not even a contest and I wanted more so I continued to scan and warp around the system. Rifter, Stabber, Carcal, Myrmidon and several other ships were on scan. Targets ripe for the taking.

I managed to scan down the Stabber and warp in on him in a belt but he used his speed to keep me out of scram range and warp away. Disappointed, I went back to scanning and eventually managed to track him down again. I warped into the belt and this time he engaged me, closing all the way down to less than 2,000 meters which is exactly what I wanted from such a fast and fragile cruiser. He realized he was in trouble when his armor was almost depleted and mine had barely taken any damage. He tried desperately to gain distance but it was far too late. He popped and I picked up some more loot for my cargo bay.

Once again I resumed my scanning and searching but it wasn't even necessary... the Comorant pilot from earlier was back in a Carcal and had warped 100km away from me at the same planet I was currently scanning from. We flew at each other and engaged into combat. I launched my T2 Hammerheads and quickly brought the Carcal into structure while I was still barely even into my armor. I was overjoyed that I was about to pull in my 3rd solo kill of the past hour but it was not to be... she warped away on the brink of death due to a Warp Stabilizer module. As angry as I was for losing the kill, I could not help but admire the pilot for being smart enough to equip a module that would let her escape her certain death.

Again I went back to the scanning and searching and warped into a belt where I thought there were ships but there was nothing. I sat and waited a few moments and in warped the Rifter I had been scanning earlier! I attempted to fly to him and lock him down but he fled to a belt nearby. I scanned the belt and saw what appears to be several ships but decided to follow anyhow. What I encountered in the next belt was a cluster of ships that were solo or parts of different gangs. While I felt confident I could compete with a group of cruisers and frigates, there was a Myrmidon battlecruiser here piloted by an accomplished pirate named Jed Stark and I did not want to stick around to see what he would do. I warped to the first object in space I saw on my ships screens and wound up just outside a planet. Several other ships soon began warping in nearby... I was not sure if they were following me or attempting to flee as well. In the confusion I managed to get scrambled and webbed by Jed in his Myrmidon and my Vexor was destroyed. I escaped with my pod intact and flew home, reflecting on what was by far the most active and exciting solo experience I have encountered since becoming a full time pilot.

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