30 October 2011

Jaguar Put To Sleep

Starwalker was roaming around looking for trouble in another brand new assault ship – a Jaguar. This one had been fit like a super Rifter with a 400mm armour plate and double webbers. The intent was to catch and stop fast ships and then blast them to the smithereens. Nice and simple.

It was a simple plan and d-scan showed a Dramiel at the sun piloted by UKC. Checking out UKC revealed a good pilot with lots of kills and in the top 1000 BattleClinic killboard. Starwalker would normally move on and look for another target but no guts no glory. Also, the Jaguar was fit to catch fast ships so surely a good test.

Starwalker warped to the sun just as UKC arrived where Starwalker was and both knew that the fight was on. A few seconds later and UKC arrived back at the sun around 100km away and Starwalker burnt towards him.

The ships locked each other and then the real fight started at around 1500m with the double web applied. However, it became clear quickly that the Dramiel was easily tanking the initial damage. The Jaguar autocannons were overheated as the Hobgoblin II drones entered the fray.

Starwalker switched the attack to the closest drone and applied one web to it but just as it entered structure they were all recalled. Starwalker switched back to the Dramiel but the situation was rapidly going south. The Jaguar armour had been ripped to shreds and the Dramiel was barely scratched.

Starwalker decided to try and disengage by heading for a random location knowing that even if the ship could not make it out it was important to save the pod and the +4 set of implants. The drones were released again but Starwalker left the guns trained on the Dramiel – it would not matter whether one or two drones were destroyed the Jaguar was being injected with a lethal dose of firepower and was about to be put to sleep.

There was no chance to escape – the range was still well within scramble and as the Jaguar entered structure Starwalker hit the warp button repeatedly to ensure the pod escaped. The Jaguar exploded and the pod got away.

Starwalker knew that he had been completely owned, it was not close at all. Whilst he had exchanged a good fight in local he was simply the lamb being brought to slaughter. The Dramiel had barely shown any red at any time and certainly was never in any danger.

Starwalker noted that actual DPS was around a third of that shown in EFT. Similarly, whilst the Dramiel was putting out less DPS it had clearly demonstrated a better ability to soak up the damage. The Dramiel was obviously active tanked versus the Jaguar’s buffer tank but one key was whether more of the nominal DPS could be applied in practice such as using Keep at Range.

28 October 2011

A Fool and His Wolf Are Easily Parted

Starwalker was about to call it an evening and dock up when he came across a Kestrel sitting at what looked like a plex. Starwalker decided to go in and kill the Kestrel. He expected to find an acceleration gate coming out of warp but instead the Kestrel was just sitting there.

Approach, target, lock and fire and the Wolf hit the Kestrel hard but suddenly the Wolf was being hit harder. The damage control went on and the Kestrel went down but a few seconds later the Wolf was a pile of wreckage too.

Checking with Rebels it turns out that the beacon was actually a cyno and effectively Starwalker had warped to a POS. It was likely that the cyno pilot was going to jump a carrier or similar into the POS and Starwalker had inadvertently assumed it was a plex beacon.

Initially, Starwalker had felt foolish for losing his Wolf to sentry guns but in retrospect it was probably more a case of being unlucky that the overview had looked like a beacon for a plex but was actually a cyno beacon. Live and learn.

23 October 2011

Tuskers Trash Wolf in Egghelende

The brand new Wolf sitting in the space dock had been fitted up to do the horrific levels of damage that only the Wolf can do in the Assault Ship class. The slight variation was to use two tracking enhancers. Starwalker admired his first Wolf, which was less than a day old. Time to get into space and do some damage.

The Wolf was cruising around Egghelende looking for trouble when a Thrasher was scanned down to a station. Arriving on scene the Thrasher decided that it wanted no part of the Wolf and docked up. So Starwalker decided to head off in a random direction to see what would happen.

Suileman Shouaa arrived in a Vengeance and Starwalker hesitated, recognizing the name and corporation but then decided to engage anyway. The Vengeance would be active tanked and a rocket ship so Starwalker decided to engage at range (5-7.5km) to keep up the speed. That range also offered the opportunity to disengage if the fight went south.

It was not to be a duel to the death. Suileman Shouaa was not there to fight a 1v1 and soon after the fight started another six Tuskers arrived together. Starwalker made a desperate attempt to leave but was simply overwhelmed and the first brand new Wolf disappeared in a fiery explosion. Fortunately the pod did get away, saving the set of +4 implants.

In retrospect, Starwalker decided that he should have committed more fully to the fight. To get into a 1km range, where the Wolf would do its maximum damage. In terms of fitting, it might be better to fit a neutralizer rather than a rocket launcher. The neutralizer would kill the active armour repair and perhaps Starwalker could have taken the Vengeance with him.

21 October 2011

10 Million Skill Points and Dying

Starwalker looked at the neocom console disconsolate.  This was not the master plan – no kills in the last few weeks. There had been plenty of roaming but no killing. The only notable achievement was passing 10 million skill points.

Of course, obtaining no kill did not mean that Starwalker had not died on occasion, such as the gate camp in Auner that claimed a T1 Kestrel. The Kestrel had been prepared for the internal R1FTA tournament but instead had succumbed to a Taranis, Hurricane, Drake and Tempest. The pod did not escape, losing a set of +4 implants.

A slightly more worthy attempt at a fair fight was with a Thrasher that was simply waiting for a victim. Starwalker duly arrived in a Rifter hoping for the best, getting under the guns of an artillery fit, but fearing the worst. The Thrasher had 200mm autocannons, which was the worst, as they had no problem tracking the Rifter and decimating their next victim. To add insult to injury the pod decided not to warp away and another +4 set of implants were lost too.

Not satisfied yet, Starwalker arrived on scene as bait for a Dramiel with his partner in crime – Santo Trafficante – waiting to pounce. Again the master plan failed as the Dramiel arrived but shortly afterwards so did a Cynabal.

Starwalker feeling that he had not lost enough yet delayed exiting the scene by a few seconds. The warp drive was finally engaged, the Rifter started to accelerate and then the Rifter was gone – replaced by a pod floating in space. At around 30km from the Cynabal at least the pod escaped to the sanctuary of a nearby station.

It was dissatisfying and disappointing, as Starwalker was dying more than killing, which is inherently less fun. The good news was that Assault Ship IV training was nearly complete. It would be time soon to progress from T1 frigates to T2 – it would be fun to fly the Jaguar and Wolf.

17 October 2011

Starwalker Survived Gate Camp

Starwalker was moving between Auner and Hadozeko when he ran into a gate camp. In all previous instances Starwalker had died very quickly and in some cases had been podded too, especially in Eszur. This time was different.

Kaeda Maxwell had published an article on surviving low security camps and Starwalker had seen some of this advice in chat but had never applied it. That was about to change as Starwalker jumped into Hadozeko and a waiting gate camp.

There was a Stiletto and Curse and possibly one other ship waiting for a victim and as Starwalker aligned to warp to Klogori the warp drive stopped. Previously this was the first step to being destroyed but this time Starwalker went into immediate evasive action with his Rifter.

First approach the stargate, next hit the afterburner and overheat, then start the defenses – damage control and small armour repair. Damage started coming in and the capacitor dropped to zero as the Curse did its thing. But the Rifter was closing back in on the gate.

Capacitor boost and then hit the afterburner and repair again… damage into armour but only 3.5km from gate… and then jump! Starwalker had survived a gate camp for the very first time.

It was pleasing and exhilarating to have survived. Starwalker knew that his ship might be destroyed in a future gate camp but he also knew that he had a chance to escape. A gate camp no longer meant certain death.

16 October 2011

Rebel Yell in Auner

Auner was starting to fill up with pilots looking for a fight and the Rebels were always ready for a fight. Zodiac Black, Miura Bull and Starwalker formed a small gang and set about finding the trouble spots.

It wasn’t long before a Vengeance was tracked down to an acceleration gate but as Zodiac and Starwalker went into the deadspace complex the pilot decided that two Rifters would be too much and quickly warped away.

Zodiac gave chase and then lured the Vengeance back to the Rebels. The Vengeance arrived and was met by the rebel yell to “Get Him”.  Action swiftly followed with the target locked up, neuted and sprayed liberally with projectile ammunition. The Vengeance melted (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=3084) before the onslaught but luckily tanju1982 saved his pod.

A short while later, with the scent of blood still thick in the air, the rebels saw a Jaguar (Bengal Bob) and Dramiel (Amun Khonsu) waiting in the same complex. It was an invitation that would not be refused.

With two more Rebels now part of the pack – Tavisturus and Overnauta – the Rebels went in. The Jaguar and Dramiel engaged, looking to bring down the Rebel pack. The Rebels went for the Jaguar and it started to soak up the punishment as well as dishing out its own telling blows. The Dramiel darted back forth dancing between the Rebels and jabbing away all the time.

Miura’s Sentinel fell just before the Jaguar was finally destroyed (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=3086). The killmail revealed why the Jaguar had been able to take so much punishment because it had two medium shield extenders. However, within seconds of the Jaguar going down the Dramiel was able to give the final jab (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=3097) to Starwalker’s Rifter.

The remaining Rebels tried to catch the Dramiel but instead it managed to deliver the final blow to Overnauta’s Rifter. But Bengal Bob was not finished yet and he returned in a Stabber Fleet Issue. This melted Zodiac’s Rifter and did the same for Miura when he returned in his Thrasher. Tavisturus managed to warp away in structure as Starwalker arrived on the scene too late in another Rifter. It was over and Starwalker could do nothing other than warp away again.

Good fights were exchanged as the Stabber Fleet Issue and Dramiel declared victory on the field of battle with their Jaguar loss to the Rebel loss of 3 Rifters, 1 Sentinel and a Thrasher.

14 October 2011

Rebels Ravage Ishkur in Eszur

The Rebels were on a roam organized by Kaeda Maxwell and had been visiting various systems in Metropolis in search of victims. It had been a slow night so with a few near misses and one Rifter kill but it was about to get a whole lot more dangerous.

Jumping into Eszur the Rebels found an Ishkur on scan. The Fleet Commander warped the Rifters in and the Ishkur started kiting the gang. Ulfgar Ardo was clearly going to fight and take on the four Rebel Rifters.

The Rebels warped out and then in again at different ranges to tackle the Ishkur and maybe that was what the Ishkur wanted – to separate the Rifters. The Rebels got the tackle and then converged onto the target.

The Ishkur dropped drones and darted around trying to pick off individual Rifters. Establishing point was difficult as the Ishkur seemed to be able to maintain range and so Starwalker focused on the drones. The Rebels were making good progress against the drones but not without cost.

Starwalker was down to 50% structure and left the fight, Overnauta and The Ecca One had died in combat but fortunately enough damage had been done for Kaeda Maxwell to get the final blow in to kill (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=3028) the Ishkur despite the decimated fleet.

The Rebels had finally ravaged the Ishkur in Eszur in a hard fought battle and good fights were exchanged in local. 

10 October 2011

Rifter Ambushed When Undocking

Starwalker was simply reviewing the location of his inventory when he decided to undock and move to another station in the same system. It was a fatal mistake.

Amun Khonsu was waiting on the station undock in his Dramiel and silently locked up Starwalker’s Rifter. Amun had recently lost his Rifter in a duel and now had an opportunity to exact some revenge.

The first indication that something was wrong was when Starwalker hit the warp button and nothing happened. Shortly afterwards the incoming fire from the Dramiel revealed the source of the interference.

Starwalker decided to simply re-dock but that decision proved to be a mistake, as the docking request seemed to simply be ignored at first and then waited an interminable time for the docking permission to be granted. It was too late. The Rifter simply exploded (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=2994) having not fired a single return shot. The pod quickly followed.

Starwalker decided in retrospect that he should have at least tried to fight back. The original reason for not fighting was that Starwalker expected the re-dock to be quick and was unsure that fighting on the station would delay that process.

Dong Orson noted that the best course of action was to use an insta-undock. The irony is that Starwalker had an insta-undock but had not thought to use it, as he was not expecting any trouble. This was the first time that Starwalker had lost a ship by being ambushed when undocking.

9 October 2011

T1 – Merlin Murders Rifter in Moonlight

Starwalker issued a challenge for a T1 tournament duel and The Ecca One came in his Rifter. It was agreed to fight at Moon 10 and Starwalker warped to zero in his Merlin ready for combat.

The Ecca One wasted no time as he too landed at zero and the fight commenced immediately. It was a simple slugfest. The Rifter was hitting with all the damage that can be inflicted by 200mm auto cannons and rockets and the Merlin was soaking up the punishment and returning fire with 150mm auto cannons and rockets. Starwalker overheated his guns and accidently ungrouped them instead. No matter – start firing and overheat the rack instead.

As a straight damage race it was being won by the Rifter but it was not just a straight damage race – it was also about surviving the onslaught long enough to get the kill. The Merlin established its relative superiority and murdered (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=2915) the Rifter in the moonlight. The Rifter had inflicted more damage but it couldn’t survive long enough to get the kill – the Merlin did.

It was another good fight and Starwalker had been using ROTA (Range, Overheat, tank and Attack) to watch the fight and to react to key elements of the combat.

8 October 2011

Rifter Artillery Kills Rifter in Auner

Starwalker was simply moving stuff around in Auner when he noticed a Rifter sitting on a station. The pilot was Amun Khonsu and a quick check in Battleclinic revealed a top ranked pilot (4,859) with 2,083 kills to 245 losses.

The current ship was a Rifter fit for a brawl but this pilot was from 2006 and lots of kills, so a straight up fight was likely a losing proposition. Consequently, Starwalker re-shipped to an artillery-fit Rifter that would hopefully have the element of surprise.

Next, warp into a random belt at 100km and then burn away, waiting for the enemy Rifter to arrive. Within a few minutes it did, along with a Rupture, but 150km was a safe distance. The Rupture (Kmelx) then offered to leave the “1v1” and Amun Khonsu burnt towards the Rifter at around 940m/s. So afterburner fit, unless he was being clever and probably armour tanked based on the speed.

Starwalker patiently waited for the Rifter to catch up and at around 60km turned to engage. His heart was pounding and his pulse was racing Target locked, pointed and orbit set to 15km the artillery cannons opened up and started dealing damage. There was very little return fire but the distance seemed to reduce to 12km so Starwalker set “Keep at Distance” 13.5km.

The artillery was overheated and the enemy Rifter started to bleed into armour. It was incredibly slow progress and then suddenly Amun Khonshu got a good hit that took the shields down to 40%. Quickly checking the range it was still around 12km – must have been a lucky hit.

Using ROTA (Range, Overheat, Tank, Attack) Starwalker kept checking the key events and noticed what he thought was an enemy point but later realized it must have been the tracking disruptor. Things were going well and the artillery finally destroyed (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=2917) Amnu Khonsu’s Rifter.

The exceptionally pleasing aspect was the idea of establishing relative superiority – range. Waiting at the asteroid belt, at a safe distance from it to see what ship arrived. Continuously checking ROTA, especially range and noticing the “attack” icon.

The other aspect that also became clear for Starwalker was that the tournament fights did not have the same adrenalin rush as these random fights like the Vengeance and this kill. It was simply not the same and perhaps related to the fact that maybe Starwalker did not like killing other Rebels.

6 October 2011

Rebels Wreck Vengeance in Hagilur

A small standing fleet had been setup in Hagilur and Starwalker joined the fun. An earlier roam in his Rifter had been rather uneventful, except for the Cynbal that had tried to destroy him on a gate.

A few potential targets were being d-scanned and Shaggy Herring in a Vengeance was among them. The speculation was whether Shaggy was part of a small fleet or not. Whilst this was going on Starwalker had been bouncing between celestials

Starwalker decided to tempt fate after bouncing to a customs office and simply burn away from it. On many occasions that type of action had elicited a response of some enterprising local jumping in for a fight.

The Vengeance jumped in. Starwalker turned and engaged with an “x” call for backup. The distance closed to 1500m very quickly and damage was being applied to the ships by both sides. However, it was also clear that the Vengeance was easily repairing its armour. Good job that the other Rebels were there to help.

Miura Bull in his Wolf and Saftsuze in his Rifter soon had the Vengeance locked up and now the Vengeance tank was being overwhelmed. It was soon over as the Rebels wrecked (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=2813) the Vengeance.

Starwalker had been so busy watching only the damage, a common failing, and overheating modules that he had not noticed the distance was no longer 1500m but had extended to 13km! So the pod was well beyond scramble range. Well, the Vengeance was down but the pod escaped.

Starwalker reviewed the combat log and noticed that the Vengeance had stopped firing for a while (but hadn’t realised at the time). Similarly, the damage also showed a familiar pattern of high moving to low. So maybe the key to the earlier charts had been a change of range that Starwalker had simply not noticed at the time in those previous battles but had been obvious with the Vengeance.

This all pointed to the fact that a “routine” was needed to keep track of the combat and key events. So Starwalker resolved to use ROTA next time: Range, Overheat, Tank and Attack as a device to observe the fight and react as needed.

2 October 2011

T1 – Kestrel Wings Clipped

Rocanegra issued a challenge for a T1 tournament duel and Starwalker answered the call, undocking in a Merlin. Rocanegra was likely to use a Kestrel as he had won four times previously with it.

The Merlin had been specifically fit with a micro warp-drive to close to scramble range against a kiting fit. The question was what would Rocanegra bring to the fight? If he brought something else then the battle plan would need to be adapted.

Kestrel jumped in at 100km – mystery over. The next key question was could the Merlin close to scramble range? The Kestrel closed to point range and its missiles started hitting hard; Starwalker didn’t bother trying to shoot back at 20km. The micro warp-drive was kicked into life to close to scramble range, the seconds ticked by and… it wasn’t working, the range was being held around 20km.

Starwalker overheated the micro warp-drive and then suddenly the distance closed rapidly. Fantastic - scramble applied and finally the guns and rockets returned fire. The Kestrel was about to have its wings clipped, the Merlin had broken into close combat range and it would be over soon. The Merlin shields were down to 40% but the Kestrel simply melted (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=2771) at close range.

Starwalker was very pleased and exchanged a “good fight”. It was then that he noticed that the micro warp-drive was burnt out and lots of other overheating damage. Well, it didn’t matter now as the fight was over and won. 

1 October 2011

T1 - Speed Kills Kestrel

Doctor Genocide was ready for a T1 tournament duel and came in a Rifter that landed 100km away. Starwalker started to move towards it but decided to lower the speed of his Kestrel to 1200m/s to see the effect on the capacitor rather than using full warp.

This was not the time to be messing about with the speed and more importantly – Starwalker forgot to reset it as the distance closed to combat range. Around 40km Starwalker’s attention was diverted to targeting the opponent’s Rifter and at 30km firing the first round of missiles. Then setting orbit to 19km. It was then that Starwalker noticed that the speed was still at 1200m/s and whilst it was reset to full speed it was too late.

Doctor Genocide was not one to miss an opportunity and took full advantage of the mistake to close the distance to less than 10km. The Kestrel had no tank worth speaking of and disintegrated (http://r1fta.griefwatch.net/?p=details&kill=2756) quickly.

It was a silly loss that was the result of pure fail, not the type of error to repeat in the wild and not really one to repeat within the T1 tournament. Lack of speed killed the Kestrel or more accurately the silly time to experiment with its speed and worse forgetting to reset it until too late.