Monday, August 4, 2008


Jita was busy. Hundreds of people piloting ships all around the gates and stations. I very carefully flew my Iteron around a gigantic Fenrir freighter and got in line to dock. My disguise was ready to go so that no one would recognize me as the infamous pirate Spectre and I could purchase goods in peace. Upon entering the station, I went straight to the market computers and began filling out my order. I needed a new Vexor and scrolled down to it on the list:

Vexor: 10,150,000 ISK

WHAT?! Ten million ISK? That was more than double the going price and I was absolutely not going to pay it. I mulled my options and decided instead to try a cruiser that I have pretty much never piloted before, the Thorax. I found it on the market for a reasonable price and had one sent down to the hangar to be loaded into my hauler. After much deliberation, I decided to purchase and fit the ship like so:

5x Light Neutron Blasters

1x MicrowarpDrive
1x Web
1x Warp Disruptor

1x Damage Control
1x Medium Armor Repairer
2x Energized Adaptive Nano Membranes
1x 1600mm Plating

5x Hammerhead Drones

This setup was easy to fly, resilient and had been suggested to me by a fellow pirate who flies a mean Thorax. He had to use ECM jamming drones but I have yet to educate myself in their operation so instead I just went with the regular combat variant. I ordered some other assorted goods including some spiced wine, Johnsonville brats, Toaster Strudels and a new pony (my last one had been incinerated in a ship explosion and I need some sort of companionship out there in the lonely void). I went back to my ship, checked that everything was packed up properly, fed Mr Pilkins a carrot and returned home with my new shiny stuff.

Once my new Thorax was unpacked and tuned up, I hopped on and got a feel for the new ship. It had that nice new ship smell and the pilots seat was very comfy. It even had one of those computers that keeps track of my mileage! I powered up, signaled the station and undocked into space. A few jumps away from the system, I found a Caldari Caracal cruiser on scan. It appeared to be piloted by another pirate that I have encountered once before and I knew that his ship would be equipped very well. After a little bit of cat and mouse, we landed into the same belt and began our fight. I got myself as close into range as I could, locked him up with my web and scrambler and began blasting away with my guns and drones. His shields were going down pretty slowly but the tank on my Thorax was easily able to match it. I was not taking much damage and my repairer was helping to mitigate a portion of what I did take.

Mid-way through the battle, a third party suddenly appeared in the belt. A pilot in a Claw interceptor locked us both and began peppering away with artillery. The damage was inconsequential, but this meant that whoever won the cruiser fight would wind up being locked down in the belt, unable to destroy the tackler who was zipping around at thousands of kilometers per second. I turned my attention back to the Caracal and finished him off. I was only about halfway into my armor at this point and the Claw was doing piss for damage. I looted my kill and began trying to microwarpdrive out of scrambler range so I could flee. After a little bit of manuevering, I did somehow force my pursuer to lose his lock and I fled off to a safe spot. I realized immediately after jumping into warp that I had left my drones behind! Five Hammerhead II drones worth several million ISK. I smacked my palm against my forehead and looked at Mr Pilkins. He too was upset over my misstep.

I flew around for a few minutes, working up the courage to return and pick up my little mechanical friends. The Claw was still around but no additional pirates had come to back him up so the danger seemed pretty moot. I finally decided to take my chances and entered warp. I arrived, flew to where my drones sat and as expected, the Claw pilot warped in soon after and locked me down again. I calmly scooped up my drones, redeployed them under control of my combat computer and began doing all sorts of maneuvering to try and get the Claw pilot into web range. I microwarpdrived left, right, up, down and all around and finally did manage to get the pilot to fly close enough for me to use my status webifier. Once he was slowed it was an easy job for my guns and drones to smash him. I grabbed his loot and fled the field right as yet another interested party entered the belt in a Myrmidon battlecruiser.

Lessons learned:

(1) The Thorax is way better than I expected. Good damage, good drone bay and an impressive tank. I will definitely continue to fly them in the future. It also got great mileage according to the ships computer... nearly 150 astronomical units to the petaliter!

(2) The Caracal sucks. Even completely decked out, they dont seem to be able to compete with other tech I cruisers.

(3) Don't be a stupid interceptor pilot. If you don't have backup coming, don't sit around locking down a ship whos tank you cannot break and who obviously has a web. Eventually things will turn against you (not that I am one to talk).

(4) Pony's smell. I believe that for now on Mr Pilkins will have to remain behind in the station.


Mick said...

After a little wait, it's nice to see another brilliant post by you.

Good that you are trying new ships. You'll find that this opens up a lot of new doors, letting you at least take a peek inside.

I'm surprised you managed to get into web range of the ceptor. Nice work on that.

Well, keep these brilliant posts coming (more often :D).

Mick said...

P.S. I looked at the Caracal kill. Damn, it was fitted with T2 mods, had faction ammo and RIGS, yet you still managed to smush him. Nice.

Mynxee said...

Another GREAT post, Spec. You are so funny--the part about the pony cracked me up! You should get some kind of award for the humor in your posts. Oh, wait! I have one to give you. See my blog for the details.

And might want a few of these in your hold...great for when you run out of cap, and not as smelly as a pony. But way dumber.

Spectre said...

Mick: I definitely like the variety I ships I am able to choose from now. Makes things a bit less stale and also gives me more options depending on what my opponents are flying.

As far as that Caracal kill goes, I don't know if I should get the credit so much as the ships should. The Caracal is really kind of "meh", where as the Thorax is really kind of awesome.

Myxee: Are you trying to imply I should inject hamsters into my cap boosters? Thanks for the award... I will have to find some way to work it into my next post :)

Mynxee said...

Well Spec, I hear tell those little rodents can be taught to run on a treadmill that powers your ship's drives...makes for slow going, but better than standing still. And you apparently already stocked up on carrots, so you're good to go ... *grin*

Patrick said...

In my (admittedly limited) experience, caracals only really work in groups. 5 HMLs can do some serious one-punch damage, but the reload time is so long that they do no DPS. However, a group of three caracals all spamming missiles at the same target will do a LOT of damage. Good for insta-popping haulers and barges and whatnot.

For the thorax: why the small blasters? I know that medium blasters are grid killers (you'll need to take that 1600mm plate off), but you should be able to fit a smaller plate and some mag stabs and do vicious damage.

The idea behind the ECM drones is that they kind of give you a tank of sorts, its risky, but it lets you drop the big plate and have some degree of safety.

Mick said...

Thanks for the reply, Spec.

Patrick: The plate on his ship is really his main tank, which is a VERY solid build for cruisers, giving them a ton of EHP.

Even if they do make for some good DPS, drones and small blasters give sufficient DPS to outlast and kill any opponent. This works better with the ruppy, imo, because you can fit med ACs, but it works extremely well on any cruiser that can fit the plate.

On the note of Caracals, they are admittedly sub-par with other cruisers, they do make for good gang-work. Unfortunatly, you won't find many gangs of caracals anymore. :P

Jason said...

The Caracal isn't actually a bad cruiser. The problem was the moron flying it. A couple things I noticed from the killmail:

1: He had a mix of lesser T1 named, T2 and faction gear. This is not a smart thing to do, you want to keep your fitting consistant.

2: He had a piss-poor passive tank. I can get an unrigged Caracal in the neighborhood of 20k EHP sustainable against 50dps. Rigs can up that to sustainable against 80 or 90 DPS with another 3-4k of EHP.

Jarek said...

Hey, nice post. I really like the Thorax as well and also it's t2 variants (deimos, phobos).
I'd say it's usually superior to vexor, unless you have really good drone skills... even then it's hard to tell.

I'll give you a good medium blaster fitting:

Medium Armor Repairer II
Damage Control II
800mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

10MN MicroWarpdrive II
Warp Disruptor II
X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator

5x Heavy Electron Blaster II

Vespa EC-600 x 5

You can even squeeze some ions in there with good enough fitting skills / implants. Magstab can be dropped for 2nd EANM by personal preference (if you go with combat drones i'd probably do that).
I do recommend ECM drones (for better survivability) but it does work with combat drones too.

dexter said...

Another fine post Spec! Gives me something to do when I should be working. :) I've been toying with idea, but this helped make my decision to train up the other racial Frigs and Cruisers before grinding up T2s.

Spectre said...

Well if the Caracal IS capable, then I have yet to run into anyone who flew it competantly. When I see a Rupture, Stabber, Thorax, Vexor, Arbitrator or Omen, I will consider what I am flying and the pilot age before considering an offensive. When I see a Caracal I just laugh and fly in guns blazing even if I'm in a frigate.

As far as the medium gun/ECM drone fits, I would like to try them out eventually but my skills are just lacking. Once I get my medium hybrids and ECM drones trained up a bit I will definitely give some other setups a try.

Mick said...

Here, Spectre.

He uses the Caracal pretty well. It's still not as good as the other top notch cruisers, but it can handle itself if flown well.

Jarek said...

Yeah, it must be funny to go around in belts with a t2 fit Caracal with assault launchers + good passive tank, get attacked by frigates/interceptors/assault frigates etc. (no pirate can resist attacking a caracal), an utterly destroy them :).
When my Caldari alt gets skilled enough i'll definitely try it for fun.