30 April 2012

Crow is Close but No Cigar

Starwalker was out in the Crow cruising around and looking for trouble. He was still very new to Interceptors and was not clear on what he could engage, what was ambitious and what was impossible. He still needed to train Interceptor V too.

A Wolf was at the sun and Starwalker did not hesitate to engage it. He knew that the artillery fit Wolf was very common but he wanted to see what would happen. Spiralling in the Crow arrived at around 20km away and the Wolf started landing solid hits - artillery fit with 280mm Howitzers. 

The Crow shields dropped very rapidly and Starwalker decided to leave as it seemed like another few shots would destroy the ship. As soon as he decided to hit warp Starwalker changed his mind and decided that getting under the Wolf guns would be best. However, it was too late, by the time Starwalker warped back the Wolf was gone.

A little while later at another sun Starwalker engaged an Enyo and decided to orbit around 18km as he wanted to avoid both the very likely blasters and being slingshot into scrambler range. The Enyo was unable to hit the Crow but seemed to be tanking the rocket damage just fine and Starwalker wondered whether he could break the active tank.

He decided that the best way to achieve that would be to continue to plink away and see if the capacitor died in the next couple of minutes. However, he was not checking the range closely enough and the problem with the selected range was that it bumped very close to the J5 Warp Disruptor range of 20km and the Enyo managed to get away.

Starwalker was not really sure if he could have killed both Assault Frigates but he felt that he should have:
  • Moved in close to the Wolf as soon as he realised that it was an artillery fit
  • Moved closer to the Enyo or used Warp Disruptor II for a 24km point

29 April 2012

Impact of Drake Price Spike

The Drake price over the last few months had spiked dramatically:

Starwalker had intended to fly the Drake next and had trained Battlecruiser V but given the price rise though it had now moved to a less affordable level as Starwalker fully expected to lose many more ships.

Whilst flying a battlecruiser would be postponed Starwalker was definitely enjoying flying around in the Crow and given what was happening with ship prices he guessed that he would continue to fly around in frigates for a while longer. The Crow price had seemed to remain reasonably static:

However, Starwalker was also considering flying more of the T1 frigates, for example, he had never flown a Tristan and it looked like a fun ship. The issue as always was that he would need to do some more training, in particular Small Hybrid Turrets. Most of Starwalker's skills were in missiles and small projectile turrets. So much training and so slow!

28 April 2012

Two Rifters at the Sun in Tama

Starwalker was cruising around The Citadel in his Crow and enjoying flying at interceptor speeds ~3km/s. Jumping in to a new system a Kestrel was around 50km off the gate and Suzu Fujibayashi asked whether the Crow was an SML or Rocket fit.

After considering the question for a moment, Starwalker replied "Rockets" and went to the Sun.  His thinking was simple - if the Kestrel was missile fit and could successfully kite then he could simply run. If the Kestrel was also rocket fit then it should be a victory. The Kestrel arrived at the Sun 100km away and Starwalker burnt towards it.

The Crow started orbiting and firing away with the rockets at around 18km and the Kestrel started to lose its shields. After a few seconds the Kestrel simply decided to leave, gained distance and warped away. Starwalker was surprised that the Kestrel could get away so easily and wondered if he should have approached or used a tighter orbit to make the Kestrel's escape a little harder.

Starwalker moved on, was soon in Tama and warping to the Sun. Two Rifters were there around 100km away, piloted by Cyberkilll and Gerhard Faust. Starwalker hadn't scanned the sun beforehand and so it was a surprise to see them there but he did not hesitate and simply charged straight in.

The first Rifter was locked and being orbited at around 16km with the Crow's rockets tearing away the shields. The second Rifter was closing fast and was around 10km away and applied a web very quickly. Starwalker tried to keep the second Rifter at distance but it didn't work and suddenly the Rifter was at 3km with a scram applied.

Starwalker thought it was looking bad but he kept his overheated rockets on the first Rifter and it exploded. The incoming damage was very low but he had no time to think about that and quickly switched targets. The rockets now pounded at the second Rifter and as that Rifter started to crumble he noticed that very little damage had been received or was being received despite the fact that the Rifter was still close. It too erupted into a ball of fire.

Starwalker had won his first 1v2 even if both victims were new. Whilst this was the first time that he had engaged two ships solo and won he considered his mistakes. He had not:
  • Considered positioning his Crow to engage one at a time, he had simply charged in and set the orbit
  • Reacted to the second Rifter soon enough, he had not watched the second Rifter approach and he should have tried to keep it at range earlier
  • Seen the relative positions of the ships, he had watched the battle through the overview and HUD and so was never aware of relative position, only relative distance 
Whatever the faults of the fight, Starwalker was please to get some kills and looked forward to flying in the Crow again. That reminded him, his training for Battlecruiser V was now finishing, he would complete Destroyers V next and then do Interceptor V.

25 April 2012

Oracle and Friends Flee from Crow

Starwalker cruised around the sun in a Crow and scanned for local targets. An Oracle, Harbinger and an Abaddon. It was not clear if they were together but Starwalker wanted to get close to the Oracle and destroy it.

Warping in to a nearby Customs Office Starwalker found the three ships, they seemed to be POS bashing. The Oracle was nearest at around 70km away and Starwalker hit approach but changed it immediately to spiral in. He knew that the Oracle would likely be able to destroy the Crow if it could hit it with zero transversal and with the micro-warpdrive going, which increases the signature radius.

The Harbinger and Abaddon warped away immediately but the Oracle stayed to take a few pot shots. Starwalker closed in to around 43km but the Oracle was not hanging around and before a point could be established it warped away. This was the first time that ships had scattered from Starwalker and he was faintly amused by it. 

24 April 2012

Wolf Catches Crow Murdering Merlin

Starwalker was cruising around setting up a bookmark when Kazzard20 called for a frigate fight at the top asteroid belt. A second invitation was not required and Starwalker warped in to find Kazzard20 in a Wolf around 70km away.

Despite trying to approach the Wolf, the Crow was having trouble moving around in the asteroids and before Starwalker had made any real progress towards the Wolf a Merlin had arrived too. The Merlin, piloted by Geodeath came in close to around 11km and Starwalker's Crow engaged it,  immediately gaining some distance to get out of web range. It worked and the distance settled to around 17km. The rockets were firing and applying modest damage but more importantly the point was established, so the Merlin was going nowhere.

The Merlin shields started to drop and the Wolf disappeared but Starwalker doubted that it would be gone for good, it was probably afterburner fit and looking for a warp in point. Starwalker overheated the rockets to get the kill and soon the Merlin's armour and structure was exposed. The Wolf arrived at only 3km as the Merlin exploded. It locked the Crow, applied scramble and started firing its 200mm auto-cannons.

Starwalker made a mistake by first approaching the Wolf rather than spiralling away immediately. He had briefly forgotten that he was flying an interceptor and not a brawler frigate. That decision was reversed quickly and as the Crow started to gain distance it was a race as to whether the Crow would break free or break apart. It broke apart at 15km away.

Starwalker had lost his Crow - no doubt more would be lost. More importantly, he had realised that fighting in an asteroid belt was very dangerous for an interceptor. It was simply far too easy to lose all speed as the Crow tangled with the asteroids rather than the target.

23 April 2012

Using the World Map

Starwalker looked at the World Map for the first time in many months. He knew the map was there and available in flight and he also used DOTLAN periodically but he had not really looked at either very closely. He occasionally opened the map to change the autopilot settings for route selection but apart from that it was rarely ever used.

Today was different. Starwalker was still waiting for the ship refit to complete and was simply idling the time away. He opened the World Map and started to look through some of the options on the Stars page.

It was like seeing the map for the very first time again as Starwalker realised that here was a fantastic resource that he had simply never exploited. Key information about other pilots was at his finger tips:
  • Average Pilots in Space in the Last 30 Minutes or Ships Destroyed - good starting point to go where the pilots had actually been flying in space recently and fighting
  • Escape Pods Destroyed - looking for more trouble? Good chance to find action where pods were destroyed but it was also a possible gate camp location, especially at entry points or along key routes
  • Pirate and Police Ships Destroyed - good places to go looking for ratters 
The information was shown as coloured balls, with the higher number being shown as a bigger ball. Context menus provided specific metrics and could be expanded to include system information such as planets, asteroid belts and moons. At a glance it was easy to see the busy systems and set off towards those systems.

Starwalker knew the types of places to find fights but spent a lot of time flying and not finding any fights. Using this map (or DOTLAN) would not necessarily change that but it would be more of a help than a hinderance. It was certainly better than what Starwalker normally did - head off in some random direction.

22 April 2012

System Chronometer Fixed

The engineer closed the Neocom console and declared the System Chronometer fixed. The issue was apparently due to outside interference and had resulted in much reduced active pilot time. Starwalker had lost weeks of flying time and wanted to get into space. 

More importantly, he had wanted to do that flying in battlecruisers but they had increased in price from around 30m ISK to around 50m ISK. Starwalker checked his wallet, he could not afford to lose many fitted ships at that price and that made them too expensive. Checking other ship prices it seemed like everything had gone up.

Starwalker decided to buy some more frigates, mainly T1 frigates and the Crow, which seemed reasonable at around 11m ISK. He would be flying in space again very soon and he was looking forward to it.

1 April 2012

System Chronometer Glitches

Starwalker rechecked his system chronometer readout - there was clearly a problem. His clone was spending far too long in stasis and had remained inactive for unexpectedly long periods. Starwalker contemplated the problem. It went beyond the time spent waiting for Starstepper to move ships and equipment or monitoring station trading - his actual active time had been reduced.

Starwalker decided to rerun a system diagnostic, perhaps the chronometer readouts were faulty or there was some internal glitch that was keeping his clone inactive. Whatever the reason, Starwalker wanted to be out in space flying his ships and currently that was not happening.