26 March 2012

Resupply Station with Ammunition

Starwalker was disappointed. Over a number of weeks he had not really been flying in space as Starstepper had been active moving ships and Starwalker simply had to wait for the resupply. The problem had been exacerbated when the Merlin fit had failed and that had required more equipment and the right ammunition to be moved.

Star Shikkoken had been pressed into service, operating out of Jita to reduce the need for moving ships and equipment from Hek but Star had no skills and only a Reaper for transport. However, that was enough when purchasing some small items and moving them into The Citadel.

There was a second reason for Star Shikkoken to be pressed into service. Starwalker wanted to check if Star could station trade in Jita and see if a small profit could be made. Or preferably a not so small profit. Station trading had been profitable for Starstepper but the profit was so small that it was not enough to support Starwalker's combat losses.

Starwalker was not sure how this station trading would work out but he wanted to give it another try before moving to other means to gain ISK and keep a ready supply of ships and equipment.

24 March 2012

RIFTA says Hello and EVE Welcome by the North

The R1FTA holiday in the North had started and Ilik Tanikalot was beginning celebrations with a roam around the local area. It was a frigate and Thrasher party and the meet up started in The Citadel.

Starwalker had a Merlin and was testing out a new fit as an alternative T1 frigate to the trusty Rifter. Starwalker was still enjoying experimenting with ships, even if that had almost exclusively been with frigates so far. 

Training for a larger ship had commenced and Battlecruiser V was currently being trained but Starwalker wondered if he had dismissed the cruiser class too quickly. Maybe he should actually fly them before battlecruisers, however, that question could wait, as Starwalker returned to the task in hand - to fit the selected modules to the Merlin.

The new Merlin experiment failed immediately as Starwalker tried to actually fit the T2 blasters. He did not have the pre-requisite skill level. Starwalker had forgotten to train the blaster skill before starting battlecruiser V. In turn, this then emphasised a problem with only keeping a few ships and fittings at a station - few or no alternate choices for fitting the ship.

Starwalker replaced the T2 blasters with 200mm auto-cannons and knew that his carefully selected set of modules for the ships present in station had just been thrown into chaos. A rethink and resupply to the station would be needed to realign the ships and their available modules.

The Merlin was ready and smoothly slid into space and joined the other R1FTA pilots. The fleet meandered through The Citadel looking for targets of opportunity and eventually their patience was rewarded in Black Rise, Akidagi. A Tengu was spotted and engaged.

The R1FTA pilots swarmed in and initiated - death by a thousand cuts. Point was established and maintained as frigates and destroyers swirled about the Tengu but the Tengu was not alone and as it started to go down his friends joined the fight - Cynabal, Vagabond, Stilletto, Pilgrim, Blackbird and Ares.

The R1FTA swarm was being depleted fast but they focused on the Tengu and brought him down. The remaining R1FTA pilots then bugged out to reorganise and re-ship as needed. The R1FTA hello to the North had resulted in a great Tengu kill.

With spirits high and alcohol flowing freely the reorganised fleet set off again but the North hadn't properly finished welcoming the R1FTA pilots and the fleet was decimated in Akidagi again and Starwalker lost his lovely Merlin. Undeterred the R1FTA fleet set out again with Starwalker buying an available fitted Thrasher. It did not last long as the R1FTA fleet again succumbed to the locals and the newly commissioned Thrasher became a new wreck.

Starwalker returned to base to re-ship and was unable to fit a Merlin so undocked in a trusty Rifter but with an artillery fit. Starwalker preferred brawlers with more tank but his choice was limited to what was in station. The reconstituted fleet headed off to Syndicate null-sec and received yet another warm welcome from many locals and the artillery Rifter was gone.

Having had a full evening of entertainment Starwalker headed back to base - in his capsule. It had been fun and the highlight had been the Tengu kill. No doubt it would be an interesting holiday here in the North and Starwalker reset his clone location to local. Given the warm welcome so far it would only be a matter of time before he found himself in the clone vat.

19 March 2012

Training for a Drake

Starwalker was training for the Drake next - thanks to input from Kaeda Maxwell, Truen1ght and Orson. This did not mean that the Hurricane and other ships would not be trained, just that they would be trained later.

A number of reasons contributed to doing the training in this order:
  • Missile training was more advanced than gunnery
  • HAM and PODLA Drakes offered cookie cutter builds for brawling and kiting
  • Drake tanks allowed a little more room for pilot error
  • Ammunition choice was generally easy - kinetic, simply select for range

However, before that training could start the Interceptor IV training needed to be completed and some time spent with the ship fitting tool to determine the fit and any further training requirements. Starwalker enjoyed playing with the ship fitting tool, to theorise on fittings and capabilities and it was especially useful as it also let him see what training was needed. Although, he already knew that he wanted more skills trained:
  1. Battlecruiser V for damage and shield resistance
  2. Drones V and drone skills related to drone damage and range, possibly ECM
  3. Heavy and Assault Missile V and their respective specialisation to IV for damage
  4. Acceleration Control V for speed increase
  5. Miscellaneous skills to improve capacitor usage such as propulsion jamming
This represented many days of training, Battlecruiser V alone was around 25 days and so Starwalker considered whether he should go out in a Drake even before he had completed this training. The short answer was - yes. The longer answer was - yes, if Starwalker was within 85%-95% of the overall skill level V capability for damage, tank, capacitor, speed and agility.

Whilst Starwalker mainly lost ships through pilot error he did not want to be woefully under-skilled when flying the Drake. So, the first job was to check how close he was to flying a Drake - back to the fitting tool...

17 March 2012

Maiden Flight of the Crow

Starwalker had completed his frigate training and was now the proud owner of a brand new Crow - Interceptor class frigate. The Crow was undocked and slipped out into space with the engines whisper quiet. It then shot away to a safe.

The asymmetric hull shape was not to everyone's taste but Starwalker was more interested in what it could do than how it looked and set off around Molden Heath. After setting the default orbit distance it was time to test the top speed and see just what a Caldari interceptor class frigate could do.

It was fast and agile but no test would be complete without some action to test the weaponry as well. Starwalker moved from system to system but it seemed pretty quiet and then at the next star gate an NPC Angel Legionnaire was lurking. It seemed an ideal opportunity to test the weaponry and so he moved in, whilst keeping an eye on d-scan.

The first surprise was the overshoot on the approach. It seemed like the Crow simply came in too fast and the orbit of 16km was quickly reduced to 12km. Against a real pilot that might have resulted in being webbed and then scrammed. However, before long the Crow was in a 16km orbit spitting out Javelin rockets. 

The second surprise was how slow the battlecruiser went down or how little damage the rockets were actually doing. Perhaps the problem was the size of target engaged or more likely unrealistic expectations but whatever, many rockets were consumed, including after the switch to Rage.

The final surprise was how the capacitor worked it's way down and whilst it seemed to pause around the 30% mark it still dropped through that too. Starwalker had assumed that any fight would be long finished before the capacitor became an issue but that was not true against this bigger target. 

The good news was that the battlecruiser was completely ineffective and the Crow received very little damage at all. The only time that any real happened was when the speed dropped as the Crow got tangled with the gate. Eventually, the Angel Legionnaire succumbed to the inevitable.

Starwalker didn't usually shoot rats but he considered that it was useful from time to time to test a ship. He also considered whether he should move his security status back to less than 5 so that he could move through high security space. If he did that, then shooting rats would perhaps be a simple way to do it.

12 March 2012

Completion of Training for Frigates

Starwalker reviewed his training queue and decided that he was nearly finished with training for frigates. He had finally reached the necessary skills for Interceptors and Stealth Bombers. Two types of frigates that he had not flown yet.

It was strange that Starwalker had been training for over a year now almost continuously and more recently using +4 implants and had only recently completed most of the frigate training. As he looked over the skills he knew why - it was all of the support, fitting, different race and miscellaneous skills. In short, the training had been unfocused and Starwalker had skills for many different things including things like exploration and trading. It was only more recently that the training had been focused on the current and next ship to fly.

It was time to think about the next ship skills to add to Starwalker's repertoire and to focus training on those requisite skills such as medium weapons and drones. It seemed like T2 heavy assault cruisers were a little expensive and battlecruisers would offer much the same capability minus the speed and range control. However, that advantage in speed and range control of HACs might lead to a higher survival rate, especially during solo engagements.

Beyond the heavy assault cruisers, based on current skills, the obvious two battlecruisers to consider were the Hurricane and Drake. The Drake seemed a solid but slow choice and the Hurricane seemed to be a better generally for solo work. If so, the question might be as simple as focus training on either the Vagabond or Hurricane next.

9 March 2012

Rebels on Holiday in North

The Rebels were planning a short holiday in the North to see what trouble they could find in another part of New Eden. Starwalker had instructed Starstepper to move a selection of frigates and fittings in preparation for the festivities. That was now done.

However, moving ships was not the main concern for Starwalker. He had reviewed his flight logs and wallet and knew without looking that he had not spent much time in space and his available funds were dwindling away. He had spent time trying to create an income stream from station trading but he just seemed to be not well suited to creating significant wealth that way.

Starwalker's supply of ISK was slowly disappearing and before it ran out he was looking at ways to create an income stream. This was not a new problem but it had been put to one side when Starwalker "inherited" a lot of ISK. It was time to review options.

4 March 2012

On Imperial Navy Slicer Kill By Accident

Starwalker was flying with some other Rebels in Heimatar looking for trouble. It was not really an organised roam, more of a collection of Rifters in the same area looking for targets. One of the engagements was an Imperial Navy Slicer.

The Slicer was playing on the gate with the Rebels, knowing that the sentry guns would fire on any Rebels that took aggressive action. Of course, the Rebels knew that too but decided to play with the Slicer as it targeted various Rebels and so a Jaguar locked it up and fired.

Starwalker also had the Slicer locked because he had auto-lock set and watched the Slicer shield disappear and enter armour. Presumably the Slicer was not returning fire and would simply jump as soon as it felt in serious danger. So, Starwalker decided to open fire just to add a little scare by increasing the incoming damage a little faster.

His intent was to fire two rounds and then warp away before the gate guns decimated the tank of the Rifter. The first part of the plan went fine but when the warp away was supposed to happen - nothing happened. Everything seemed to hang and then suddenly, everything caught up and Starwalker was in structure and then his pod. WTF!

Starwalker went back to station hugely disappointed. He knew the target was not red, knew he had not been fired on, knew the gate would open fire if he aggressed, but decided he could get away before being destroyed if he didn't hang around but inexplicably he did not warp away.

The only consolation was that the Slicer was caught a little later at the sun and Starwalker was on the kill mail. Starwalker heard the good news in station and was about to undock when his system crashed. 

2 March 2012

Pilot Error Strikes Again

Starwalker was contacted by Tawa Suyo for a Rifter duel and the challenge was accepted. Starwalker considered his options and how to fit the Rifter, he decided on an artillery fit and undocked. 

Arriving at a random moon Starwalker accepted the fleet request and headed off in a random direction. The ship looked good as it burnt along at around 1300m/s and Starwalker wondered what had happened to Tawa as he still hadn't arrived.

The artillery fit Rifter had little tank but good range control, if it could start at range. Suddenly, Starwalker noticed the fleet icon moving on the right of his display and then he was target locked with the enemy Rifter only 8km away and closing fast. Worse, the damage started coming in and the shield was disappearing.

Starwalker had the overview set to "combat" so the Rifter had arrived and closed in without being seen, in short, the overview should have been reset to "fleet". Worse his camera had been pointed in the wrong direction and zoomed in - so Tawa Suyo had arrived and closed in fast, unseen until too late.

Starwalker hit, web, scramble, guns and then overheated the afterburner. It was simply too late, the Rifter was in armour even before the guns had fired their first shot, and in retrospect the afterburner should have been overheated first rather than the last. The Rifter was soon a ball of fire and Starwalker warped his pod away, very disappointed that the fight was over even before it had started.

Starwalker was getting lots of lessons but it was a lot less clear how much he was learning. He was rather hoping that this period was coming to a close and he would be making fewer basic mistakes going forward.