Tuesday, April 29, 2008

R.I.P. Vexor #2

Yesterday, myself and some other members of my corporation spent several hours patrolling and scanning through our usual pocket of low security space. For the most part there was no action except for one instance where we wound up with no kills and some stinging losses. The encounter we managed to find was with a -10 security rating pirate who also had a 5,500,000 isk bounty on his head. I was in my Vexor, attempting to bait another Vexor by sitting in a belt next to some wrecks. However, instead of getting the other Vexor pilot I wound up with a pirate in a Rupture on top of me. I was not initially too worried... even if I was destroyed, my cruiser along with my wing man's Thorax should be more than enough to down even a well fit Rupture. I called for backup as the fight started and my companion jumped into the system and began warping towards me. The Rupture was blasting through my tank fairly quickly with his T2 artillery and his Hobgoblin drones, meanwhile my medium Hammerhead I drones were almost done getting through his shields. My wing man warped in, deployed his drones and then... warped out??? It appears he had accidentally hit the warp button and left the belt. He attempted to warp back in time to catch the pirate before I was completely done in but he was not able to. The pirate in the Rupture finished me off while he was only about halfway through his own armor and then apparently escaped.

While I began warping home to get myself a new ship, my wing man who had been flying the Thorax got a private subspace message from the same pirate who had dispatched me. He was requesting a 1 on 1 fight and the Thorax pilot accepted. Long story short, they had a fair fight and the Rupture won by a significant margin. If only there had not been the accidental warp out in the first encounter... we might have been sharing T2 loot and a 5.5 million isk bounty instead of suffering two destroyed cruisers.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Like Drones

As of late I have been doing a lot of studying into the operation of combat drones. I was born, raised and educated in the Gallente Federation so this is hardly surprising. My people have favored drones for combat for ages and as a result many ships of Gallente origin are specially designed around enhancing their effectiveness. One of these ships is the Vexor cruiser, a cheap but extremely useful cruiser that I have been flying a lot recently and may have taken over that spot in my heart that used to be only reserved for my Incursus. It can be fit fairly cheaply, provides significant boosts to the efficiency of combat drones and can be fit with a respectable tank which allows me to outlast my opponent while my drones do their damage. Yesterday, myself and a couple of my Vexor's had a very eventful time:

Part 1:

It had been a pretty uneventful day so far. Myself and a gang mate had been trolling deep into low security space but had not been able to find anyone willing to engage us. We slowly made our way back towards our home sector on the edge of high security CONCORD protected space when we decided to stop in a highly populated (and highly dangerous) system. I arrived, scanned around and found a Gallente Thorax cruiser that appeared to be in an asteroid belt in the system. I warped towards the belt and continued to scan as I was approaching... the Thorax was still appearing on scan! I knew at this point that he definitely was in this belt and I was about to drop on top of him. I could feel my blood starting to pump rapidly and I informed my partner that I had located a potential target and was about to drop in on him.

I landed about 10km away from the Thorax who was in combat with a nearby rat. I toggled my warp disruptor, launched my drones and tried to close distance. The Thorax was faster than me so I toggled my MicroWarpDrive to close distance and get him webbed. Got him! The Thorax was locked down, barely even touching my shields and he was going down fast. My partner landed in his Thorax cruiser and provided the killing blow from his powerful hybrid blasters. I began floating over to the wreck and we locked down the pilots pod to attempt to ransom him but it wasn't going to happen. I looked up to see one, two... then three blinky red names appear on my overview. Three known pirates had warped in and were closing on us fast... we had outstayed our welcome. Both myself and my gang-mate warped away just as the three hostiles piloting a command ship, a large interdictor and a battleship had started to lock us.

Part 2:

Another member of my corporation had just informed me of several potential targets in a nearby low security sector including some cruisers and frigates. I warped into the pirate sector I had gotten a kill in earlier on my way and found a trio of ships camping the gate. The same three pirates that had almost caught us earlier! This would be no big deal I thought... I have always been able to align and warp away fast enough in my Incursus. I come out of warp, start aligning and... nothing. I am warp scrambled and quickly disposed of. My first Vexor loss...

Part 3:

I returned home to my hangar to pick up my other Vexor. I fit it using mostly parts lying around in storage but had to venture out to make a few specialized purchases (they don't sell 1600mm armor plating just anywhere). I was done with low security space for today... I had not lost a ship in over a week and that was all ruined by a few pirates with skills and tools way beyond what I could handle. I decided to make a quick pass around the asteroid belts of my home sector to see who was around. I had noticed a large amount of traffic on the local subspace channels in the past few hours and there was bound to be some hapless miners out that I could toy with. I warped through several belts without finding much and then finally landed in the middle of many wrecks, a few unsecured containers and two miners in a Comorant destroyer and a Moa cruiser. These were ships of Minimatar design and I had never faced them before in combat so I honestly was not sure what I could potentially expect. I checked all the unsecured containers and found a very large amount of Veldspar in both. I flipped the cans and moved all the ore into my own containers. Even if the pilots did not decide to engage me or steal it back, I had just acquired about 300,000 isk worth of ore with 5 minutes worth of work.

The Minmatar destroyer and cruiser pilots were not in the same corporation but they must have discussed their plans before hand, because at the same time they both engaged my Vexor with their ships. I could only smile to myself as I had managed to trick them into doing just what I wanted. I targeted the Moa initially but he was obviously shield tanked because his shields were going down very slowly. I decided to switch over to the Comorant and he quickly began to take damage from my drones. Suddenly I lost my target and he warped away! I had forgotten to warp jam him! Angrily at myself I switched targets back to the Moa. He was into my armor now but that was where my tank truly shines... I toggled on my damage control, armor repairer and kept him webbed, scrambled and drained as my drones finished their job. The Moa exploded and it's pilot warped away in his pod.

I decided to hang around a few more minutes, hoping that the Comorant would think it was safe and return so that I could finish him off. Instead, a few minutes later, the Moa pilot returned, this time in an Osprey type cruiser! I targeted him, turned on the usual propulsion jamming modules and killed him very quickly. Upon looking over the kill report later, I noticed that he had NOTHING equipped on his ship and only two Hammerhead type drones in the drone bay. What in the world was he thinking...?

I looted the Moa and Osprey wrecks and returned to the station. The Moa had equipped a couple expensive modules which were worth well over 2 million isk! Between the wrecks and the stolen Veldspar that I hauled back with my Iteron a few minutes later, I made out of this encounter with over 2,500,000 isk worth of stolen goods. By far the most money I have ever made in a single swoop in any fashion.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Newb on Newb Violence

There are three very distinct levels of security in the solar systems of the Eve universe. I have never been in 0.0 space, but from what I understand it is vast, somewhat empty and combat usually consists of larger scale fleet or gang warfare over territory. I have spent some time in low security space and it usually consists of small gangs or individuals in a variety of different types of ships looking for prey or each other to fight. Then there is high security space where unless you are flagged for some reason (war, kill rights or low security standing) combat consists entirely of trying to trick newbs into flagging themselves attackable in CONCORD's eyes. This third option is what I have been all about the past few days. It is not glorious, it is not usually profitable and in a lot of cases it is not fair but no one ever said life as a capsuleer was.

It all started with a player fresh out of the academy wandering into my home system. He sent a message on the local subspace channels asking for advice for where to mine. I pulled up his information on my ships computers and immediately saw that he had only graduated days ago. I was quite bored having not seen any action in days, so I responded to his question letting him know how to locate the belts in our system. I immediately warped to a nearby belt to begin searching for him... perhaps I could trick him into flagging himself for my entertainment. As soon as I arrived I saw that his ship had already been wrecked by a Serpentis pirate roaming the area. I chuckled to myself and quickly dispatched the aggressive pirate who had wrecked the newbies ship. I then flew to his wreck, looted his worthless modules and dropped them into a cargo container in space. I opened a private channel with the pilot and let him know that I had removed the threat and left his stuff for him in a container. He thanked me and flew in to pick up his stuff. Immediately after looting my container (which means he was now flagged for me to attack) he asked, "Is your corporation going to attack me?" I locked down his ship, dropped into a close orbit and grimly replied "No... but I am." I toggled on my blasters and he lost his second Ibis frigate of the past few minutes. It sure is a good thing the Caldari State provides them for free...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grand Theft Omber

As I spend more and more time flying myself around the universe, I am beginning to get a feel for the pilot pecking order. There are the big fish, the pilots who have experience and money and fly battleships and heavy assault cruisers around with their friends, gobbling up anyone silly enough to get in their way. There are the little fish, the pilots with little experience and money who fly frigates and cruisers around and try their best to stay out of the way of the big fishes (like me). Then there are the really little fish, the miners and industrialists who spend most of their time staring at giant space rocks or working at a desk inside a station.

When I first started my foray into space combat, I spent a few weeks wandering around low security space, trying to find some other little fish to provide a fair fight. What I found is that there are no little fish in lowsec that hang out anywhere that isn't a station or a gate. My small ships cannot handle the barrage of gunfire I would take if i were to illegally initiate an attack in such a secure location. So I can not yet handle fighting the big fish and I cannot find any little fish to engage... I guess I have no choice but to pick on the only people beneath even myself.

Last night I set out to roam in some of the high security systems near my home. I jumped into one system that is known to have a lot of industrial activity as well as many asteroid belts. I jumped from belt to belt looking for some inexperienced miners to harass and came upon many. Some of them were storing their ore in unsecured container sitting right out in space, so I stole the ore right out from underneath them and put them into my own unsecured container. This is considered theft and the miners and their corporation have CONCORD's permission to attack me for it, but a large majority of the time they just ignore me or call in a buddy in a battleship. While my main goal is trying to goad some ignorant fool into attacking me or stealing back his ore so that I can legally engage, I found that 75% of the time I come back later in my Iteron hauler, the stolen ore is still sitting there for me to haul and sell. I made about 500,000 isk this way during my encounters. It is a small consolation for the lack of combat I desire but it will have to do.

Later on while monitoring the local system subspace channels, I found several instances of pilots discussing my activities and whereabouts. I had been noticed. Stealing from well intending and usually defenseless miners wasn't how I originally planned on making my name but at least it is a start...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Baby Steps

Combat with other pilots in EVE can be a harsh mistress, especially as newb. It is extremely difficult to find a fair fight, especially when I am flying around solo in a frigate or cruiser and without the proper knowledge or funds to equip my ships well. Only once in my career so far have I managed to engage and win a solo fight and to be frank, the odds were weighted heavily in my favor. That first solo kill was on a week old pilot even fresher than myself flying a poorly equipped Imicus frigate. In the immediate 8 days after it I didn't have a single kill either solo or as part of a gang (but I did lose several of my favorite frigate the Incursus as well as an expensive Thorax cruiser to ships or groups much larger than myself).

So with this all in mind, I set out the other day with the intent to find some adventure. I was not in the mood to aimlessly wander through low security space scanning out ship after ship or blob after blob of ships that I could not even consider engaging. Instead, I began warping around the asteroid belts of my home system, hoping perhaps to find some pilots around my experience level to goad into attacking me.

After killing a few rats and checking a few belts, I found a young pilot with only slightly more experience than me in a Catalyst type destroyer. He was mining but obviously had some drones and/or guns because there were several pirate wrecks surrounding his ship. My Incursus would probably have a very difficult time with this type of ship but I did have several others docked in this sector that would make quick work of a destroyer fitted with mining lasers. I looted the wrecks around him which in turn gives him the rights in CONCORD's eyes to attack me. I went from wreck to wreck slowly, giving him time to consider the attack and finally i saw that he has me targeted! Moments later he fired a shot and launched a drone and I immediately aligned and warped back to my home station. I quickly fitted a Vexor type cruiser with the proper modules for a fight, undocked and returned to the same belt to find the pilot who had engaged me. I warped in just in time to see his blinky red name disappear off my overview and I cursed myself. Did I just lose my chance? I launched my drones and stayed put for a few minutes hoping that he was only returning to unload his ore and will be back. After a short period of time, he did warp back into the belt, still flagged for me to attack and this time flying an industrial Iteron III. I targeted, warp scrambled, webbed and quickly killed his ship. I looted the wreck (which contained nothing worth any considerable amount of isk) and warped back to my home station, thrilled with the fact I had managed to net the second solo kill of my career. Sure it was on a young pilots defenseless industrial, but considering how hard it has been for to find any action, I was fairly satisfied.

At this point I thought the encounter was over. So again I got back into my favorite frigate and began to wander the belts looking for perhaps my luck to repeat itself. I encountered a couple of pilots including one in a battleship that could have easily crushed me, so I stayed far out of their path (and most definitely did not loot the wrecks of their kills lying about). A few minutes later I entered the same belt where I had killed the Iteron and to my surprise, the young pilot is already back with his Catalyst! This time he has brought along a friend in a Thorax class cruiser. I was considerably more wary... could I handle a Thorax solo let alone a Thorax and a Catalyst? Would they even take the bait if I did try to get them to engage? I decided that there was only one way to find out and returned to the station to pick up my Vexor again. I returned to their belt and began looting their recent pirate kills which gave them both the rights to attack me. Both ships followed me from wreck to wreck as though discussing and contemplating what to do. Finally with no wrecks left to loot, I merely floated up into their immediate vicinity and silently dared them to engage. After a few moments, success! The cruiser attacked me followed soon after by the destroyer. I immediately focused fire and my medium Hammerhead drones upon the Catalyst, knowing that it has significant firepower but not much in the way of shields or armor. With him webbed and scrambled and myself slowly orbiting and sucking away his energy, my drones ate away at his ship and soon destroyed him. Now I focused all my energy on the Thorax. he was still at full health but my own shields were completely down and my armor was starting to take damage. I turned on my defensive modules, sent in my drones and began the same slow orbiting dance of death with my next target. He was taking damage slowly but steadily and for a few moments I was worried about the fact that my armor was nearly gone and my ship had nearly run out of energy to run its modules. Just in time, I see the Thorax start taking damage to the structure of the ship and explode in flames. My ship was out of energy and nearly out of armor but I had lasted and won out.

I looted the wrecks (again containing nothing of value) and returned to my home base to post solo kills number 3 and 4 of my career on my corporations kill log. The next day I received a message from the pilot owning the Thorax that I had destroyed. He wanted to know how he and his friend had lost. Just because I blew up 10 million isk worth of their stuff doesn't mean I shouldn't be polite so I gave them some advice about how I was equipped and how I think they could have themselves been better equipped to handle the fight (or how they should have just avoided it in the first place).

First Post

The first thing I need to come out and say is that this blog is a blatant rip-off of the many EVE pilots and pirates who already blog about their adventures. Most notably I have been reading Ka Jolo's blog (http://eve-pirate.blogspot.com/) and Alia Xi's blog (http://caldaripiratess.wordpress.com/). They are both extremely entertaining and have convinced me to begin recording my own experiences in the universe that is EVE Online.

As the title implies, I am an EVE newb. I have been a capsuleer for only about one month now. Like many other pilots, I feel that mining and missioning and industry are somewhat of a boring distraction. Combat is what I crave and thirst for. Even in my very uneducated state, I often venture out into the vastness of space in an attempt to satisfy my desires. The interesting (or more likely uninteresting) events that result will be documented in this blog.