30 September 2012

Moved from Fensi to Gultratren

Starwalker had spent a short while based in Fensi and roaming from the edge of Kor-Azor into Genesis and as far as Aridia. It seemed far too quiet for his taste and when he had been out and about it had seemed close to deserted. This prompted Starwalker to move his base from Fensi to Gultratren as he had intended to use that system as a base. In short, he would have bases at Covryn, Gultratren and Egbinger, with Egbinger really being chosen because it would soon be R1FTA HQ.

He had chosen Covryn and Gultratren because they were geographically separated but each was in a faction warfare area and seemed to have quite a few active locals (and fewer gate camps). Both had easy access to other nearby busy areas such as Black Rise, Verge Vendor, Metropolis and Molden Heath and if wanted they were within striking distance of nullsec: Syndicate, Pure Blind, Geminate and Etherium Reach.

The good news about keeping operational bases with only a few ships was that it was easy to move (again) with one Mammoth trip. Whilst he was moving from Fensi to Gultratren with his Merlin he noticed another Merlin on scan at a minor outpost and decided to investigate. The pilot, hanabal drake, did not seem to have noticed that Starwalker was approaching and so he waited before locking until he was less than 20km away. Lock achieved and then scramble applied.

Starwalker had expected a fight but the Merlin went down without firing a single shot, hanabal drake had literally not been paying attention and his ship had no guns fitted. It was all over and Starwalker looted the wreck, although it was hardly worth it. After waiting out his GCC, he repaired and continued on his way.

However, it was not long before he had another ship on scan - a Slasher. Starwalker was not sure if he would catch a Slasher as that was the fastest attack frigate and indeed he was looking at that ship himself in EFT as one to try soon as a fast brawler. Of course, calling an attack frigate a brawler might be too grandiose given that they generally had little or no tank.

Starwalker loaded null, expecting the Slasher to try and kite outside of blaster range. He was wrong as the distance closed to point blank and worse than that the Slasher was laying down the hurt far more effectively than Starwalker's neutron blasters with null ammunition. This was the second time he had loaded the wrong ammunition against a Slasher, next time he would stick with Caldari Navy anti-matter.

The Merlin's ancillary shield booster was not keeping up with the incoming damage and Starwalker wondered about that as in theory the Slasher would only do around 100-120 DPS before resists. Presumably the Slasher was firing EM rounds and they were hurting badly. In fact, it was so bad that Starwalker's Merlin burst into flames with the Slasher barely breaking a sweat and certainly no damage worth talking about. Its ancillary shield booster had easily kept pace with the null ammunition.

Starwalker warped his pod away and was a long way from Fensi but returned there to get an Enyo and tried again to make it to Gultratren but he decided that this time he would not be distracted by chasing T1 frigates. That goal was also helped by the fact that an assault frigate could not enter minor complexes. Without the distraction of chasing FW pilots he made the second trip and it was much less eventful and more than that he arrived in Gultratren with his ship still intact.

24 September 2012

Drake Shake

Starwalker was wandering around Placid in his Drake with a heavy assault missile fit. He had recently flown a couple of heavy missile fits, primarily for ratting and whilst the range was good in that context the DPS was a little on the low side for his taste. The HAM Drake had much better DPS - around 500 dependent on fit and level 5 skills.

Starwalker entered Eugales and found Jameson2011 hanging around in system and so Starwalker joined fleet and they both headed out looking for trouble. It was not long before two Hookbills - Sun and Moon were spotted. There was a short debate as to whether it was a trap as there were quite a few in local but before that conversation was finished Jameson2011 said warp to me! Clearly he had already decided whether to engage or not.

Starwalker arrived at the scene with Jameson2011's Comet chasing the two Hookbills - they were all around 90km away and moving far faster than a Drake. Fortunately the speed meant that it was not long before they were at 150km away and Starwalker warped again to Jameson2011. He landed a few kilometres from the nearest Hookbill but before he was properly out of warp they were moving away and by the time he had locked and tried to establish point they were out of web and scramble range.

From there the fight shifted as the Hookbills had now killed the Comet and were orbiting Starwalker's Drake at around 24 km. Starwalker was on the defensive and he had to shake off the Hookbills. He shifted to Javelin missiles with a theoretical range of around 28km (at level 5) but they seemed to be largely ineffectual. Originally Starwalker had thought that the Javelin reached out to around 22km but after checking it was clear that they were within range of the Hookbills but that the damage level was so low that it was simply not effective.

In theory the Javelins were doing around 300 DPS so Starwalker was a little surprised that the Hookbill could shrug off the damage as easily as it was. Small signature radius would be an important factor but perhaps its speed was also reducing the effective damage significantly. Checking the logs later showed that only around 10 DPS was actually being applied, an important point about damage projection - what was real versus the theoretical.

In any case, there was a real danger of being kited to death unless Starwalker could shake these Hookbills and so he tried to time an overheated run of his MWD to escape. It failed and he had to turn overheat off again or risk becoming more or less stationary. He then remembered that he had not let loose his Warrior IIs and so he launched them. At first they also appeared ineffective, until he realised that he had not actually set them yet to engage the target.

Starwalker knew he had forgotten to launch drones before but he also wondered how often he had done that in the past - launched the drones and then left them there idling in space. However, this time it seemed that the distraction with the drones worked and the Hookbill's point dropped and Starwalker did not hesitate to warp away, leaving the drones behind. He then warped to random locations to seal his escape and finally he set off back to base.

Starwalker discussed the fight with Jameson2011 afterwards and it appeared that his assumption about the effectiveness of the damage projection of the HAM Drake was mistaken. He had clearly been kited around 24km by a frigate and whilst he was able to land some hits they were clearly not enough to drive the kiter away. In the absence of chasing the kiter away with firepower he had not been able to get away through manual piloting and it was only the drones that had helped him to escape.

It looked like the metagame, at least in this case, was driving Starwalker to favour speed over damage projection and he would have to consider that when selecting and fitting ships. He was also aware that a number of his Navigation skills were still at level 4 - in particular Acceleration Control (5% speed boost). He would need to correct that soon if he wanted to place more emphasis on speed.

23 September 2012

A New HQ for R1FTA

Starwalker had a modest stockpile of ships and equipment in Heild as the Rebel HQ and he heard from the leadership that Heild would become the HQ for the Black Dragon Fighting Society and R1FTA would move to Egbinger.

It was easy enough to move a few ships and one load of ammunition and consumables - and Starwalker had moved from Heild to Egbinger over the course of 24 hours. He had one lucky escape when he was caught on both sides of a gate by Gunpoint Diplomacy.

They had around 7 or 8 pilots sitting on the gate as Starwalker came through in his Caracal and he held his cloak hoping that they were on the move. They weren't but three did jump through and Starwalker had the feeling that they were now camping both sides of the gate. The cloak faded and Starwalker made a run for the gate as lots of incoming fire decimated his shield.

The XL ancillary shield booster cycled and managed to keep the Caracal alive long enough to jump back through where a Lachesis, Brutix and Hurricane waited. Starwalker decided that there was no point in holding his cloak this time and simply warped for the sun. Whether it was surprise or not the Caracal entered warp and he was almost free.

However, Starwalker did not hang around and warped to a random planet just as the three gang members arrived at the sun. The chase was on but Starwalker was confident that he could get away and he warped from there to an out gate just as the three arrived again at the planet. Starwalker gave a confident wave and smile and left system.

Whilst Starwalker escaped that gate camp his Drake was destroyed in Syndicate by another gate camp, split over the gate, when he was doing a security ratting run. Kaeda Maxwell was right - it was much simpler and easier to simply kill one battleship in system and move on. Despite that, Starwalker had lost enthusiasm for ratting his security status up or perhaps the right word was too lazy.

21 September 2012

Losing Streak Continues

Starwalker was losing his stock of ships fast. The Rebels had a small battlecruiser roam on and there was a Hurricane, Drake and two Rifters in fleet. It may have been wiser to actually have a battlecruiser fleet plus a scout but the Rebels set out anyway from Heild.

They got as far as Bosena, one jump away, where there seemed to be a few targets of opportunity and so the Rebels moved to a safe and started looking more closely. Whilst this hunting was going on the scout managed to lose his Rifter to a Thrasher but returned in an Enyo instead. Meanwhile the other Rifter had gone to the next system to see what targets were around. 

A Talos then appeared nearby, the Rebels had been scanned down and were being engaged. The decision was to fight and the Hurricane, Drake and Enyo went to work just as an Oracle and another Talos joined the fray. With three tier 3 battlecruiser on the field, the scales had tipped towards Gunpoint Diplomacy.

The fleet commander made the call to disengage - if possible - as it was clear the fight was going South but it was too late for the Hurricane and Drake as they went down in quick succession. Starwalker got his pod away and made his way back to Heild. For him the roam was finished as he had no other battlecruisers locally.

In retrospect, Starwalker felt that his heavy missile damage was under-powered. That was not because his missile skills were inadequate but because the missile damage was generally lower as a long range (70-80km) weapon system. He also forgot to engage with his Warrior II's, although that extra damage would not have changed the outcome.

16 September 2012

Another Hawk Down

Starwalker was loitering in Heild again with intent to do harm in his Hawk. He had refitted it to be a dual propulsion fit as he was contemplating taking it into the Great Wildlands for a jaunt. Whilst waiting in the deadspace complex another Hawk appeared in the complex piloted by Kushanar and Starwalker engaged.

The ships were effectively the same so Starwalker expected that it would be a slugfest and with the last man standing the winner. Starwalker overheated his weapons and went in for the kill. The distance closed to around 3km and both Hawks were firing their missiles looking to get that kill. Starwalker's overheated missiles were slamming into the target but his Hawk was taking far more damage than its single ancillary shield booster could handle and he was quickly going into armour.

Conversely, Kushanar's Hawk seemed to be a shield extender fit and that was still comfortably in shield, although it was falling. Starwalker knew it was not looking good but he had no real tricks to pull out of the bag and so he waited as his ship entered structure and Kushanar's entered armour. It was going to end badly, the ancillary shield booster ran out of charges and Starwalker's Hawk became debris.

In retrospect, Starwalker considered what he could have done better:
  • Kushanar was using faction Mjolnir rockets, hitting at the typical Caldari ship EMP hole. It was clear from the fight and the logs that this was a much more successful strategy than using Scourge Rage rockets, even with their theoretically higher base damage and 10% kinetic bonus damage
  • Starwalker knew that missile damage was affected by speed, signature radius, explosion radius and explosion speed. He should have overheated his afterburner, just like he should have done against this Merlin for some damage mitigation
  • His signature radius was already larger due to the use of Rage rockets, so perhaps it would be better to switch to faction ammunition
  • Active shield tank could not keep up with the incoming damage and it did not last long enough, either more damage was needed or more tank
  • In lowsec the MWD was more or less useless when actually engaged using afterburners. It would be better to use a dual propulsion fit in nullsec or when part of a gang and reuse that fitting space for more effective modules in solo lowsec fights
Starwalker had assumed that using Scourge Rage rockets exclusively would be better than selecting damage types, this experience disputed that. The results of this fight had an interesting impact on Starwalker's assumptions about ship selection, weapon choice and fitting philosophy and he would probably spend an inordinate amount of time experimenting with the Eve Fitting Tool (EFT).

15 September 2012

Merlin Meets Merlin in Atlar

Starwalker had been cruising around Molden Heath and Metropolis in his Merlin. He spotted a Taranis in a complex in Gusandall and decided to engage it. As he entered the complex the Taranis was around 70km away and he started to burn towards it.

Around 20km away the Taranis started to orbit and started plinking away with its railguns and was maintaining a distance of around 18km. The problem was that Starwalker could not close to 12-13km for overheated web range and from there into scramble range. After trying a couple of times to get in close Starwalker decided it was time to leave and overheated his afterburner. The distance widened to 25km and Starwalker was away.

Whilst returning to Heild Starwalker noticed that Atlar was pretty busy - it had around ten pilots in local when every where else, apart from Gusandall, was either empty or had very few people in local. Starwalker went to the sun and started to scan, with nothing on scan he decided to warp to the out gate - just as another flashy Merlin arrived, piloted by Burntime. 

It was clear very quickly that he was a top pilot but Starwalker returned to the sun immediately anyway, only to find that the Merlin was gone but he decided to wait as he felt sure Burntime would return. He did. Starwalker engaged immediately and closed in to point blank range. The two Merlins hacked at each other but Starwalker noticed that he seemed to be taking more damage and also that Burntime was moving out to around 5km.

Starwalker tried to close the distance again with keep at range but the damage had started to mount and he was now into low armour and as the Merlin's alarm bells started ringing - Burntime's Merlin was only down to the last sliver of shield. Starwalker was going to explode first and he aligned out to save the pod. His Merlin exploded and then his pod. Starwalker awoke in the Heild clone vat and upgraded his clone and plugged in another set of learning of implants.

In retrospect Starwalker thought that there were a few things he could have done better:
  • Be aware at the time that the target was using railguns, he had only realised this fact afterwards when checking the log
  • Overheat the afterburner to maintain the point blank range, with a web and polycarbon rigs he should have had range control. The difference must have been down to the use of heat
  • Warp in the direction of alignment, Starwalker had changed the warp point to a new direction and that delay must have allowed Burntime to catch his pod  

14 September 2012

Black Hawk Down

Starwalker was hanging around in Heild at the deadspace complex looking for trouble. An Incursus peeked in but decided not to engage and warped away. Starwalker only had his Merlin and his combat record was not great, so he was unsure why the Incursus ran away perhaps it was just being flashy red.

Shortly afterwards a Slasher arrived - and stayed. Starwalker burnt towards it changing his ammunition to null as he expected to be kited but was hoping to avoid being pecked to death. If he could get close he would surely decimate the Slasher, so as the distance closed Starwalker tried to move in to point blank range.

Surprise! The Slasher also wanted to fight at point blank range, so Starwalker engaged scramble, web and overheated his neutron blasters. He now had the wrong ammunition selected but it was too late to change it. The incoming damage was reasonable but the ancillary shield booster easily dealt with it. In return the blasters were tearing away the Slasher shields and armour and it was clear what would happen - the Slasher exploded. Again, Starwalker missed the pod.

As Starwalker idled at a safe with his GCC ticking away, Nogusha noted that he was being kited by a Caldari Navy Hookbill in his Rifter but that it was a stalemate. He could not get close to the Hookbill and it was not breaking his tank. Nogusha was calling for help in Moclinamaud and since no one else was nearby Starwalker offered to jump clone to the region and help - he would just wait out the last few minutes of his GCC.

Whilst Starwalker was waiting out his GCC John Valentine in local noted that he could not break the tank of a Hawk and he needed help. So Starwalker joined fleet and warped in, along with another Rebel - 3D Horrorshow, in a Rifter. The Hawk pilot, Kushanar, was also calling in friends and just after Starwalker arrived so did a Slasher and an Incursus.

Starwalker targeted the Hawk first as it was probably already in the most trouble and it did the highest DPS - it went down quickly. It was now three Rebels against the two remaining ONI Industry pilots, it did not end well for them as the Slasher and Incursus withered under the combined fire.

Unfortunately, Starwalker's GCC was reset to 15 minutes but he decided that he would jump clone anyway to Covryn and head to Moclinamaud as his Hawk could active shield tank the gate fire for a short period of time. Nogusha had been waiting for a long time already and Starwalker had offered to help earlier. So, Starwalker had jumped and flown to Agoze and was only three jumps away when Nogusha's plucky little Rifter finally succumbed, after 50 minutes and taking more than 25,000 damage, when a Thrasher arrived to finally help the Hookbill complete the kill

It was a shame and if Starwalker had come earlier it might have been different. However, no point in speculating on what might have been as Starwalker noticed an Incursus on scan and decided to investigate. It was at an acceleration gate with a Rifter and Starwalker went in hot. However, things did not go according to the master plan - kill the two frigates - as fourteen pilots piled into the fight.

Starwalker was pointed at close range, so with no chance of escape he overheated his rockets determined to take at least one and preferably more with him. The Incursus started to run but went down anyway as the rockets went through its structure 8km away. Before he could take down the Rifter too the Griffin jammed him. Now helpless and not even able to fire, Starwalker's Hawk disintegrated and he warped his pod to safety, and returned to base.

This was not quite the outcome he had envisaged when jumping to Placid but EVE could be a harsh mistress and very fickle. Losing two Drakes and a Hawk recently may be a reason to get back into a Merlin but Starwalker was also looking to experiment a little with more expensive ships and inevitably they would be lost. 

13 September 2012

Black Drake Down

Starwalker had been ratting in the Great Wildlands with his Drake and with decidedly mixed results. On the one hand it was easy to go and kill rats but on the other it was boring and the rewards were not great. Starwalker was there to improve his security status from 8.7, ideally to around zero.

Starwalker had entered the Great Wildlands via Khabi and 7Q-8Z2 and had noticed the two bubbles there but also no other pilots in space. He had thought nothing further about it and ratted along the pipe from there to UMDQ-6 in two separate sessions, and docking in E02-IK between sessions.

The basic approach was to go from belt to belt killing those rats with battleships, if the group had battleships he killed everything and then moved on to the next system. Those two ratting sessions totalled around 2.5 hours and netted around 27 million ISK in bounties, however, the worst part of it was that the security status only went from 8.7 to 8.4. Starwalker was hugely disappointed with the progress and considered whether he should simply ignore his security status.

Kadea Maxwell noted that the best way to raise the security status was to simply kill one battleship in each system and not return to any of those systems within 15 minutes, so perhaps do a large circuit. He reckoned it would take around 24 hours to go from -10 to 0.

Starwalker was finished ratting and then he made a mistake - he decided to return to Heild via Khabi and assumed that any likely gate camp there would not stop him as he was going out. This completely forgot or ignored the fact that it was bubbled and that fact landed him in that bubble, 70km away from the gate with a Tornado moving in for the kill.

The second mistake was to stop and fight the Tornado rather than make a run for the gate because within seconds it was a Tornado and a Hurricane and then the screen filled with lots of ships hoping to get in on the now certain kill. Starwalker had overheated the missiles and was trying to take someone down with him but he was not breaking the Tornado anywhere near fast enough as it was active shield tanked. However, the incoming damage was piling up and more firepower was arriving on the field and soon his Drake exploded.

Starwalker warped his pod away to safety but then came a third mistake. He decided that he could still exit via the same gate - if he warped to a nearby celestial and then warped down to the gate, bypassing the bubble. At least that was the theory, it was wrong or the celestial chosen was not the right choice and Starwalker re-awakened in his new medical clone in Covryn, with his other jump clone in the same station. He had also forgotten to reset his home clone station when he had jump cloned to Heild.

Two Drakes lost in two days - not good. The only good news was that during the roam that night there was some modest excitement avoiding larger gangs, chasing some targets around and playing catch me if you can with an Ishkur and Wolf at the Sun. Well there was one other piece of good news and that was killing this Condor, although unfortunately Starwalker had not got into real blaster range before it died.

Recent experience was again highlighting for Starwalker the need for speed to both get into range or to get away and that was probably the area that he had spent the least time considering beyond thinking about kiters or brawlers. What he wanted was a fast brawler with great gank and adequate tank, that was capacitor stable with good damage projection and range control...

12 September 2012

Small Bases Again and Again

Starwalker was revisiting the question of small bases again, again. Over the last few days a lot of modules, ammunition and ships had been moved to new locations. It was boring and potentially hazardous as Starwalker still elected to move himself, via Starstepper, rather than pay for the service.

Starstepper still had the strategic base in Hek as the main (and only) base of operations for buying and supplying equipment. He still could only fly the Mammoth at level 4 and so could move cargo up to around 17,000 cubic metres but he had no special skills or ships such as for blockade running. This meant that Starstepper was vulnerable moving equipment and over the last year he had been ganked once in low-sec at a gate and recently in hi-sec. However, the risk was accepted and occasional losses tolerated as annoying but inevitable.

Over time things had changed such as the ships being flown or how they were fit and now Starwalker had jump clones, that allowed a near instantaneous move to a different part of New Eden. Similarly, moving lots of equipment had highlighted the desirability of a base in low traffic lowsec stations adjacent to highsec to reduce the risk of being ganked or running into gate camps.

For instance, Starwalker had moved his base from Eugales to Covryn because the main route in via Orvolle and Oulley was very regularly camped. Covryn was selected in preference to Dastryns because Starwalker was looking for a single station with a repair shop and medical facilities. The medical facilities allowed him to set the location of the clone vat and to upgrade the clone as needed after being podded. 

With these factors in mind Starwalker had selected three bases: Covryn (current), Fensi and Gultratren. Although, Fensi and Gultratren were not active yet as Starwalker had not flown in Kor-Azor, Genesis et al and still had a base in Heild. However, Starwalker was not keen on Molden Heath as he seemed to be usually on the loss end of a small gang such as this recent loss of a Drake. Since he was generally solo - running into a gang was never a good scenario. Being on the receiving end of a gank or a gate camp was inevitable but also that seemed to be more likely to happen in some areas rather than others.

The point about this as it related to small bases was to select bases where Starwalker enjoyed flying or wanted to visit. That really summarised why Starwalker had chosen Placid, Heimatar and Kor-Azor - they represented geographically dispersed locations, one for each jump clone. Starwalker had been in two of those areas and wanted to roam in Kor-Azor. 

The system location was also selected in conjunction with the station, in particular:
  • Lowsec solar system next to hisec
  • Lowsec system that was unlikely to be frequently gate camped (regularly check Dotlan and the ship/pod kills)
  • Station in system with both medical facilities and a repair shop
  • Lowsec system had easy access to other regions for extended roaming
Starwalker had originally been very adhoc about how to use the base: ranging from it had everything in abundance to it only had one fitted frigate ready to fly and fight. Starwalker had now moved to:
  • Strategic base (Hek) to purchase and stockpile ships, modules, ammunition, consumables and equipment, with trips to resupply a base of operations
  • Operational base (Covryn...) with implants (learning...), small number of fitted ships and extra ammunition and consumables (capacitor boosters..). The supply level of this base was estimated as only needing to resupply about once a month
  • Ship base with one or two fitted ships ready for use but no other equipment in station. Useful when placed along roaming routes or near intersections for common routes and more than 15 jumps from a base of operations

The advantage of this approach:
  1. Fitted ships immediately available for use with a return to base to resupply with ammunition and repair as needed
  2. New base of operations could be setup with two or three Mammoth ship trips
  3. Jump clone technology allowed an immediate move between base of operations (and resetting clone station to current base)
  4. Bases tended to have less clutter or unused equipment
The disadvantages:
  1. Preferences for ships and fit changed over time resulting in a base with the wrong ships or wrong fit
  2. No ability to refit ships immediately
  3. Regular, even if infrequent, resupply was needed and was dangerous
  4. Larger ships (battlecruisers) are harder to move as they must be moved individually
  5. Battleships cannot be moved like this (at least with current skills and ships)
Starwalker had been busy moving lots of items and selling all sorts of unused and likely to remain unused items, this clean up had netted over 1 billion ISK. Given that ISK was always in short supply this was a welcome increase to the wallet balance.

10 September 2012

Rebel Roam Peri Simone FC

Starwalker had turned up in Eugales well after the regular Rebel Roam had started but Peri Simone, the FC, had put out another call for any latecomers to join in and Starwalker had joined the fleet. He was looking for something better to kill than this cyno-ship but he rarely passed up the opportunity for an easy kill.

Starwalker's Incursus was an active tanked dual repair ship with plenty of staying power and face-melting blasters. Of course, he knew that the problem with a dual repair fit was that it pretty much required a small capacitor booster and that crippled range control through the loss of the stasis webifier. However, in principle, in a small gang there was less need to be concerned about range control as ideally everyone was in close for the kill and the target would be surrounded, scrambled and webbed anyway.

That wasn't really the case with the Breacher though that the scout, Jameson2011, was chasing. It was fast at just under 3km/s and it was continually slipping out of point range - a webifier or two on it, along with a scramble would have helped tremendously. Whilst the Breacher was playing catch me if you can, a Jaguar appeared on grid and seemed to be following the Rebels chasing the Breacher. The Rebels speculated as to whether the Jaguar was there to fight or simply to observe the chase.

The Breacher though was trying to be too clever and it came too close and was caught. Once caught properly, it went down very quickly. The Jaguar was still hanging around, 200km away, and seemed to be inviting a fight so Jameson2011 burnt towards it. As the distance closed and the Rebels prepared to warp in the Jaguar warped away. Apparently it was over... until the pilot, Bodb Derg, made a comment in local that he was coming in hot.

At first, the Rebels did not believe it as he had only just warped away and it seemed suicidal for the Jaguar to take on four frigates, however, he warped back in. The Rebels went to work as the Jaguar tried to take down Brink Albosa's Rifter and the four frigates pounded away at the active shield tank.

At first the Jaguar seemed to be holding on but the dual ancillary shield boosters were running together and that only lasts for thirty seconds continuously. So when that time was up the ship's tank effectively disappeared and it disintegrated under the fire shortly afterwards, with Brink escaping in structure.

Peri Simone decided it had been a successful and eventful roam and that now was a good time to finish - on a high. So he declared the roam a success and after some lively chat and banter the Rebels went their separate ways. It had been great fun and Starwalker looked forward to more roams and perhaps starting to fly battlecruisers when in fleet.

8 September 2012

Wolf Engages Hookbill in Plex

Starwalker was returning to Eugales in his Wolf after his null-sec roam with Kaeda Maxwell and Vincent R'lyeh. Passing through Ashitsu, he saw a Caldari Navy Hookbill on dscan. It was too good an opportunity to miss so he looked for it and scanned it down to a plex.

Warping in to the plex Starwalker saw the Hookill more than 70km away and started to burn towards it with his afterburner fit. It seemed unlikely that the Hookbill would stay for the fight as surely the Hookbill would have a hard time against a Wolf. As the distance closed the Hookbill remained in the plex.

Starwalker watched the distance close to less than 30km and couldn't decide whether the pilot, di14juni1983, was stupid, brave or oblivious. He waited to less than 20km and then started the lock, which surely would alert di14juni1983 to the imminent danger. The Hookbill engaged first! Starwalker was surprised but pleased and tried to close into point blank with the auto-cannons spitting out their venom.

The distance did not close to less than 8km and Starwalker wondered whether he should switch to barrage or simply keep firing as the Hookbill was going down nicely. The incoming damage seemed anemic and was also being supplemented by some of the rat's fire but Starwalker's shields were holding very nicely and he hadn't even started the armour repairer yet.

The Hookbill started to gain some distance and the Wolf point dropped but strangely the pilot did not automatically warp away and maybe he hadn't realised the point was gone. Or possibly the Hookbill was aligning out, however, the Wolf did its thing and the final volley blew through the remaining armour and structure to destroy the Hookbill. Starwalker was pleased with the kill but forgot to collect the loot, even though he had to wait out the GCC.

Starwalker noted afterwards that he should have tried to observe the fight directly rather than watch the overview for maintaining situational awareness, in partcular to pinpoint when the Hookbill was moving out of scramble range. Similarly, Starwalker messed up getting the pod and so he should emphasise that final approach when the enemy target was about to explode to increase his chance of getting the pod too.

2 September 2012

18 Month Review

Starwalker had now been in New Eden for a little over 18 months. He was a reasonably experienced pilot now with just over 27 million skill points. 3 months ago, he had had good intentions of flying more interceptors and covert ops frigates and even to do some exploration. He had done virtually none of that.

Instead, he had spent time still flying T1 frigates in a new part of New Eden - Eugales, especially the Merlin, which was now a fearsome blaster boat with a cool ancillary shield booster. Starwalker was running into more faction warfare pilots, who often ran away and he had also started to fly the HAM (Heavy Assault Missile) Drake, along with a complement of drones. More than that, he had achieved his first solo battlecruiser kill and he even had two new jump clones. It had been an interesting time.

Starwalker was slowly improving, clearly experience counted. He felt that he made fewer pilot error style mistakes, although he still did make mistakes. He had trained for ships in every race and most weapon systems but he was starting to favour Caldari ships, for shield tanking and missiles. He liked the new ancillary shield booster for active tanking and coupled that with the simplicity and damage projection of missiles.

He had been flying around in the Incursus recently, the active armour tanked variety and appreciated some of their benefits, especially armour repair in null-sec. However, Starwalker was also inclined towards favouring gank over tank, despite on occasion losing to ships with really good tanks but lower gank such as the dual repair Incursus. This naturally led back to shield tankers that could use the low slots for damage modules rather than armour tanking.

Whilst Starwalker was still training drones and similar for battlecruisers he had been easily distracted by other shiny toys. Consequently, he had completed level one training for things like the Minmatar battleship and medium autocannon specialisation. There were still some distractions available such as Command Ships and other battleships and Starwalker considered just doing them first so he could then concentrate on the real combat skills needed like heavy missile specialisation and getting more drones skills to a higher level. Perhaps the real problem was lack of discipline and flitting between too many things.

Previously Starwalker had summarised his key areas of focus as ships, combat, skills and base. Perhaps now was the time to really focus:
  1. Ships - focus on Caldari ships: Merlin and Drake. The Caracal might be useful as a little fun frigate killer or perhaps the Hawk. Whilst the Merlin was now a blaster boat Starwalker already had small blaster specialisation to level 3
  2. Combat - Starwalker maintained better control of his modules and overheating but wanted to focus more on situational awareness and manual flying
  3. Skills - focus training plan on Caldari ships, missiles, drones, navigation and fitting skills, after finishing off training for miscellaneous items (battleships, command ships and recon ships)
  4. Base - two bases currently had ships, equipment and a clone: Heild and Eugales. Another clone in its ship was located at Fensi
Starwalker was satisfied with the way things were going in New Eden with only one complaint - he still had not sorted out some ISK income to fund his ship losses.

1 September 2012

Rebels Run Into Fatal Ascension

Starwalker had missed out on an opportunity to roam within a Rebel small gang for some time and when Kaeda Maxwell setup a roam he jumped at the chance. The last time he had been in fleet with Kaeda it had been a great night with an excellent T1 cruiser battle at the end. This time Starwalker was in a Wolf.

The Wolf spat out projectiles inflicting around 250 damage per second. It was a frigate sized monster, decimating whatever was in its path. Starwalker liked ships with plenty of gank and only wished that high gank ships also had really good tanks but they tended to be glass-cannons. It was either that or compromise DPS for more tank, a perennial choice within New Eden.

Vincent R'lyeh joined in the festivities in his Republic Fleet Firetail and the gang set off deep into null-sec space. It was generally quiet until Kaeda in his Harpy laconically called point on a Jaguar. As Vincent and Starwalker warped in it was clear that the Jaguar pilot also had friends and unfortunately more friends from Fatal Ascension than the three R1FTA pilots could manage.

Fatal Ascension had come to a knife fight with guns and two to one odds, it was a massacre and almost over before it began as their gang of Hurricane, Falcon, Jaguar, Hookbill et al made short work of the Rebel's Harpy and Wolf and only the Republic Fleet Firetail managed to escape.

Kaeda and Starwalker re-shipped into Thrashers and were soon in space again with Vincent. Almost inevitably they ran into the same gang and ended up being chased by that Fatal Ascension gang across multiple systems. Starwalker found it quite exciting to be chased across New Eden and on the receiving end of tactics such as gate camping to keep people within a system. It was another new experience.

Later the Rebels tried baiting a gate camp with bubbles at the EC-P8R gate from hi-sec. Whilst the gate campers were looking for their next victim they clearly did not want to chase nearby targets, too much like hardwork and possibly risky for them. So, despite the high hopes and good intentions, the Rebel gang ended up at the starting point in Tartoken with no kills but they had had a fun time messing about with the residents in null-sec.