24 November 2012

Need for Speed

Starwalker had been wandering around Molden Heath in his Enyo looking for targets rather fruitlessly. He was generally solo and sometimes went to Heild to see what was in the deadspace complex and to look for a fight, however, with lots of other R1DER pilots in system many potential targets probably thought he was fleeted.

Whilst that was occasionally true Starwalker spent much more time looking for solo kills and to that end he had wandered towards Metropolis when he ran into Vincent R'lyeh. Vincent noted that a small gang was heading into null-sec soon and it was Assault Frigate only. It was an opportunity too good to miss and so he headed over to Egbinger to get into fleet with Vincent, Kaeda Maxwell and Peri Simone.

The trouble with having fully fitted ships was that he had no real ability to change his fit on the fly. Going into null-sec and engagements there would generally benefit from micro-warp-drives (MWD) being fitted for the extra speed. Starwalker was about to be reminded of that lesson the hard way. 

The form up in Egbinger was with the intent of entering Great Wildlands via B-VIP9 and whilst waiting at the gate the gang was engaged by a Hurricane and Rapier. For Starwalker it was almost over before it started as he started to engage the Hurricane he was suddenly capless and without any capacitor nothing worked, including his small repairer. The Enyo was destroyed within seconds.

Undeterred Starwalker got into another identical Enyo and the small gang reformed, heading off into null-sec via Etherium Reach instead. It was a long roam with some gate games and some near misses but this Rupture was caught at one gate. Starwalker and Vincent had aggressed one side of the gate and it had jumped through into Kaeda and Peri who got point. The Rupture's drones were hurting them and were being targeted first but both Starwalker and Vincent had to wait out the timer to use the gate.

Suddenly the gate was open again and Starwalker was through and targeting the Rupture. The drones had been dealt with so he concentrated on doing a metric tonne of damage, something that the Enyo does well. Soon, the Rupture was down and after a GF in local the gang moved on, but without Vincent who had to return to base.

Later, it seemed like a major fight had gone down and capsules started to stream by in system. It was the perfect opportunity to setup a small mobile warp distruptor (bubble) to catch stragglers. Indeed it worked, as a Drake came by but it managed to jump through and although Starwalker and Peri gave chase it got away. Kaeda though had engaged the next target and called for the gang to come back to take down the Tornado.

Starwalker and Peri burned back to the gate, jumped and then burned towards the Tornado but for Starwalker it was all far too slow as he missed destroying the ship and had almost missed the pod too. The gang retreated to a perch to wait for the next target and then a Sabre and Hawk came in. Somehow Starwalker landed more than 50 km from the fight and as he slowly burned towards the Sabre it died. He then refocused on the Hawk but more of the enemy had arrived and quickly it was time to bail.

But it was too late, Starwalker had been too far away and too slow to get into the fight and once there was far too slow to get away again and had been scambled. Before long there were multiple ECM drones on the field and what damage he had been doing was stopped immediately as he lost lock. Without a lock it was all over and the second Enyo of the night went down along with the Jaguars of Kaeda and Peri.

Peri and Kaeda self destructed pods to return to base but Starwalker had implants and so the following day he headed back to Gultratren. On the return journey, he landed in one bubble and had to slow boat more than 50km at 187m/s - painful, but finally his pod returned to base uncscathed.

In retrospect, Starwalker could have done some things better:
  • Have ready a defined fit for null-sec and the modules needed. Null-sec really required a MWD to burn through bubbles or get to the fighting fast. Last night Starwalker had seen the need for speed
  • Engaging gangs in null-sec would likely involve engaging larger ships like cruisers and battlecruisers. He needed to consider how to fit his ship regarding capacitor warfare either decide to fit boosters or energy vampires or run the risk that his blaster boats would be helpless to energy destabilisers
  • Starwalker tended to take a do or die approach to engagements and yet he could and should have disengaged earlier for both his Enyo losses. Trying to disengage might not have saved his ship but it would have been worth a try
  • Starwalker liked the sheer brute force that the Enyo had but as a minor tweak to the fit should he reconsider the choice of rocket and overdrive modules
He had also recently purchased a Vengeance and completed the necessary training - he loved the look of the Vengeance, especially the embossed hull. He would start flying it soon.

22 November 2012

21 Month Review

Starwalker had now been in New Eden for nearly 21 months, it was time to review progress and see what had been happening over the last 3 months. In many respects it had been business as usual except that Starwalker had spent less time in space than he had wanted.

Most notably, Starwalker had finished his miscellaneous training so he could now fly battleships, command and recon ships, in fact, that training also included Amarr Frigate V. He had Assault Ships V but had previously overlooked the Amarr as he had focused on shield tanks and missiles, however, he wanted to try out the Vengeance as an armour tanked rocket ship.

The strange thing about completing that training was that Starwalker had no intention of flying those ships yet but had still felt compelled to use his skill books rather than have them sitting in his hangar. Now that it was done he could get back to the main task of filling out his training gaps and bringing some skills to V, for example, he was currently training Fuel Conservation to V. There was no specific plan related to the next ship to fly, as Starwalker was happy with the core skill set and was still flying ships using that skill set.

Starwalker had flown the Drake as per the plan but it had not been wildly successful as shown here. He had also been flying around in the Merlin a lot and had enjoyed it but was starting to think about flying other ships. He still had a general preference for blasters and rocket or missile ships and had enjoyed the ancillary shield booster for active tanking but he was also looking to fly some other ships too.

A new generation of ships was coming and Starwalker considered that there might be some good ships to fly, such as the Caracal and Rupture. He had flown a Caracal recently but that had simply been ganked, hardly a good test of what it could do. Starwalker had also decided that whilst he liked T1 frigates he would fly other larger ships too, and although the Drake experience had not been great the new T1 cruisers could be a lot of fun.

Starwalker had a base temporarily in Fensi but had now settled on a strategic base in Hek with operational bases in Covryn, Gultratren and Egbinger. The last base was R1FTA HQ and from his perspective it was not well positioned to be resupplied and typically he was resupplying it from Gultratren. Each station only held a very small number of fitted ships (1 to 3) along with ammunition and that seemed to work well. In the event he was podded there was also the basic set of learning implants at each station too.

Unfortunately, Starwalker had been experimenting a little too freely with ship fits and that had resulted in some abominations. Miura Bull had recently expressed surprise at a fit that Starwalker had died in and that comment had added weight to his growing realisation that fits needed to be really thought through and to exploit the ship's strengths. He had already known that but had been a little too carried away with experimentation and actually flying in some of those experiments.  

The lack of flight time in any ships had forcibly curtailed his desire to improve his manual flight skills. He could approach manually but he still found it extremely hard to control frigates manually once the fight was underway. Perhaps by now he was handicapped by bad habits and laziness, time would tell.

Looking forward and as before, he had no strong goals to achieve and was simply still enjoying flying around in small ships trying to kill things. He was only just successful in that, with success being measured as killing more times than being killed but the killboard showed it was a close run thing.

18 November 2012

Cousin Springs Myrmidon Trap

Starwalker was cruising around Molden Heath in his Enyo when Miss Carry saw him in local and invited him to fleet. Apparently, Miss Carry's cousin, who was not a Rebel, was about to spring a trap on his corporation mate. In short, the cousin was bringing his unsuspecting corpie, Oxall who was in a Myrmidon, to the Rebels.

The initial Rebel plan was to execute the Myrmidon in Bosena but Gunpoint Diplomacy in a Thrasher and Arazu were interferring with the setup of the trap. So after Miss Carry lost his Jaguar the fleet moved to Heild and waited there instead.

The Myrmidon arrived and was ganked mercilessly but unfortunately the pod managed to get away. Starwalker was happy with the kill - it was hardly a fair fight but that did not matter, there were many unfair fights in New Eden.

Whilst looking at the killboard he also noticed that after the Wednesday of Woe he had been undeservedly credited with a kill because the Retribution had not repaired its damage before being killed later by Sard Caid. Undeserved but Starwalker didn't really care, he had so few kills that every one counted.

16 November 2012

Recognising Mistakes Early

Starwalker was considering his most recent losses: Merlin and Taranis. The Merlin was a classic case of experimenting and not fully thinking the fit through. Afterall, the Merlin was not a natural active armour tanker and in hindsight it seemed a stupid idea to try it.

Antijan in his Slasher came at Starwalker's Merlin and was kind enough to highlight the ship's shortcomings very quickly:
  • Tracking disruptor with the speed script fitted had no obvious impact, perhaps the optimal range script would have been better or even a different module
  • Capacitor was bled dry very quickly and everything stopped at that point, in particular the small armour repairer
  • Firepower was enough to get the Slasher into armour but not enough to break the tank
Recognising mistakes early was a good thing and Starwalker had been in New Eden long enough to know better, an active armour tank without a capacitor booster or energy vampire was asking for trouble.

The Taranis loss was a classic case of a small gang not being very well coordinated, a bunch of soloists hanging out together. The gang was warping in to the plex at different ranges to catch a Naga. Starwalker warped in to the plex at 20km. There was no Naga but he was warmly welcomed by a Stabber Fleet Issue and two Hurricanes, and they were more than happy to relieve Starwalker of his Taranis within about 5 seconds.

Of course, Starwalker should have taken basic precautions of checking the destination before warping there to avoid such nasty surprises. Again, shortly after landing at the plex he was scrambled and his capacitor was bled dry immediately. Two ships, two losses and in both cases the capacitor had been drained prior to the kill - a ship with no capacitor left was pretty helpless and with blasters it couldn't even fire back.

It was time to get back to more cookie cutter style fits and to stop messing around with experimental fits, especially when no flair was being shown for coming up with something good. Enjoying playing with EFT did not make Starwalker very good at finding impressive new fits.

10 November 2012

Wednesday of Woe

Starwalker had spent very little time in space over the last few weeks. He had hoped to get some quality time in space and Wednesday turned out to be that opportunity. So, he undocked in his Merlin and headed out into Molden Heath.

The Rebels were chilling in Heild but he quickly moved on looking for prey as the number of Rebels in system seemed to have chased away any potential fights. Arriving on gate and jumping through Starwalker noticed an Executioner following, so on the other side he waited patiently. That patience was rewarded.

The Executioner pilot, prettyboyfloyde, locked up Starwalker's Merlin and engaged. More than that he came in close and Starwalker was surprised by that as he expected to be kited but a close up brawl was just what the Merlin was built for. Only the Executioner did not crumble as expected, it orbited around 2-4km away and laid down the hurt.

This Merlin was fit with Light Electron Blasters and they did not seem to be doing anything like enough damage and Starwalker was quickly cycling through his ancillary shield booster and then his armour repair. It did not help, the Executioner lived up to its name and the Merlin exploded.

Undeterred Starwalker got out his Caracal and again found himself in Heild but this time chasing around a Thrasher and Hawk. He actually wanted to fight a small gang of frigates to see how the XL-ASB Caracal would do against a small gang and a Thrasher and Hawk seemed like a good fight. However, before long the Hawk piloted by Nergalion warped away and Starwalker thought it might be a waste of time to continue to chase the Thrasher.

He stopped chasing the Thrasher and then saw a Hawk and Retribution come back in with a couple of other ships only 40km away. Starwalker aligned the Caracal towards them and started to move in... until he noticed that one of the other ships was a Kitsune. He decided it was time to bug out and aligned away but before he could leave he was scrambled by the Retribution. He returned fire but before long the Kitsune had him jammed. The fun level dropped to zero and the inevitable happened as the once proud Caracal became so much space wreckage.

This Wednesday had not quite turned out as hoped but it did highlight a few things:
  • The Caracal capacitor was not good, a few seconds of burning around with the MWD depleted the capacitor very quickly
  • Starwalker did not want to have to watch his capacitor so closely, he need to fly ships that were capacitor stable or at least could spend a few minutes flying around without worrying about the capacitor
  • Favouring tank had reduced the firepower and potential damage projection for both the Merlin and Caracal. In the Caracal's case being jammed out was the most critical issue but for the Merlin the blaster damage at 4k was dramatically lower than at optimal range.
  • The eternal question of choose more firepower or tank was still wonderfully relevant and Starwalker had still not made up his mind as to which he really favoured, perhaps he never would...