90% of the combat in Eve revolves around what happens before and leading up to the fight as opposed to the fight itself. Scanning, warping and maneuvering to get yourself or your gang into an optimal position to lock down and engage victims. But what happens once opponents are locked up into a battle... is it simply orbiting, toggling your weapons and then watching the outcome as you munch on some pizza? Pizza with sausage? And bacon and pepperoni and peppers? Damn that sounds good.
No, there are many ways to strategically and properly make quick decisions and adjust your actions that will be the difference between winning and losing a battle. So without further adieu, let us use an example of a duel that I was involved in recently:
Vexor (me) vs Celestis (not me)
1x 1600mm Tungsten Plate
1x Medium Armor Repairer II
1x Damage Control II
1x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
1x 10MN Microwarpdrive I
1x Warp Disruptor II
1x X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
4x Light Electron Blaster II w/ Caldari Navy Antimatter
1x Small Nosferatu (offline as a heatsink)
2x Ogre I
2x Hammerhead II
1x Hobgoblin II
Step 1 - Lock It Down:
I land 11km away from my opponent in a belt and the fight begins. I hold "Ctrl" and right click my targets name like mad on the overview until the target starts resolving. While the target is resolving, I toggle my scrambler and web so that they are blinking and will automatically turn on once the lock is made. The lock finishes and my scrambler turns on but my web is still blinking... he is JUST out of web range! The solution? I overheat my web for the extra range and pin him. I just have to remember to turn off the heat once he is within 10km or I risk damaging my web and the other modules in my mid slots.
Step 2 - Get Into Optimal Position:
Now that my target is effectively locked down, I need to get myself into what is the most optimal position to win the fight based on how I am fit and how I assume my opponent is fit. Since I have never seen a Celestis that was fit properly for combat in my life, I assume that he will be mostly harmless and disregard what his offensive capabilities may be. Knowing that I am fighting with slow Ogre drones and very close range blasters (700m optimal on my Light Electron II's), I give my MWD a single burst and hit the appoach button. Once within a few thousand KM, I launch my drones and give the attack command. Once even closer, I toggle on my blasters and set them to overheat for the extra DPS. Better to pour on maximum damage early in the fight then to have to try and catch up once it is too late. I just have to watch the status of my guns to make sure they do not hit 100% damage mid-fight and break.
Step 3 - Ensure Optimal Positioning Remains and Counter Enemies Moves:
So now we are in complete optimal position for the way my ship is fit. My drones and guns are doing full damage and my target is not going anywhere. The only downside to this fact is that it also applies to me. It turns out that he is fit with a big shield buffer and tech II medium guns so I am taking way more damage than expected and not breaking through his tank very quickly. I keep a very close eye on my capacitor as I need it to run my guns, scrambler, web and damage control. I try to use my repairer as much as possible but I cannot allow myself to run out of cap or I will no longer be able to cause damage, run my tank, lock down my target, etc.
It is also important to watch his distance and make sure he is not trying to open a gap on me. My electron blasters have a very short range and even with a web, he could move far enough away to negate 100+ DPS from my ship. I notice in my drone window that he has begun attacking one of my drones. I cannot afford to lose a single ounce of drone DPS while flying my Vexor so I give the command to that single drone to return to my drone bay and then I immediately relaunch it and again give the command to attack. The move is successful as he loses target on the damaged drone and moves on to another.
Step 4 - Someone Dies or Runs Away:
Finally, even though I have stayed calm and done everything right that I could in the situation, my armor tank breaks and I am about to explode. My opponents Celestis has run out of shields but too little too late for me. Knowing that the fight is lost and I do not want to let my pod get caught, I select a warpable object in my overview (usually a stargate) and begin spamming the warp button. This way I will not become a victim to the lag that follows a ship death and my pod will instantly warp away. I exchange "GF" messages in local and sulk away, a loser once again.
Sometimes even when you do what you should, you simply lose due to your opponent being in a better ship, being better equipped, having better skills or just being a bit more lucky. Also, pizza is very delicious.
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