Sunday, December 7, 2008

Slow boats

After spending years flying about in nullsec, I've come to appreciate the utility of fitting a MWD on ships. Fitting a MWD allows ships to conquer the ubiquitous Warp Disruption bubbles, quickly close back to a stargate, and dictate range in combat. Even in lowsec, the ability to return to a gate with haste spells out the difference between surviving a gatecamp and not. That said, flying a ship without a speedboost module can be rewarding challenge in itself: engagements must be chosen with care, and once dedicated to a fight, there's little hope of turning back.

Such is the case with the Lyrian Muse, my Arbitrator class cruiser. Ever since fitting the ship, I've expected to die horribly at gatecamps, that I wouldn't get much use out of the hull before it gets scrapped by some group of pirates or another. So far, I've only been ganked at a gate once, while achieving impressive victories in the mean time. Perhaps my greatest achievement with the ship isn't recorded in a killmail, as the target managed to warp away. Still makes for a good story.

You'll notice by glancing at the short profile to the right that I'm an 'Alliance FC' in Placid. What it should state is that I'm the 'Alliance Pirate Loner' instead. Nearly all PvP conducted by my fellows has been in high security space and nullsec, both of which require the ability to move through a 0.7 security system named Orvolle. This rules out yours truly, who sports a security status of -4.2 at the time of writing. Instead, I've been left to my own devices to find whatever fun I can in the lowsec of the area.

Not long after destroying the Deimos linked above I had wandered into a gateway system to lowsec called Dour. Local in the system was sparse, and I decided to give the asteroid clusters a look see. Not long after landing at a planet to start my scans, I picked up a Myrmidon ratting in one of the belts orbiting my celestial. A few blinks later I raced through the employment history and race of the few individuals in local, picking out one likely Galenttian candidate as the pilot of the battlecruiser. He had only a few months under his belt. Sod it, may as well give this a try. It'd only be an Arbitrator I'd lose anyway, and what a trophy to display if I made him!

I land on the belt to discover my foe in disruptor range. I deploy Hammerheads, and start my ship towards the Myrmidon, anticipating that 7km from target would be a good engagement range. My dual webs and a tracking disruptor should be able to keep him at the range I want, while unable to fight back with the expected rack of blasters fitted. It only takes a few seconds for the Myrmidon to react to my aggression, launching his own flight of heavy drones and sending volleys of hybrid munitions slamming into my shields.

The next minute is spent in a flurry of activity, locking enemy drones and engaging them with my own, closing to tight orbit and using tracking disruption to tank the unexpected railgun fitting, and activating all four small nos to fuel the capacitor hungry armor repairer. It's not long before the last of his drones have been rended into scrap, and my flight resumes their attack on my victim. Unable to track me with the Tracking Disruptor on his ship, the Myrmidon pilot is forced to watch the more agile cruiser slowly grind his command to dust.

I can't stress the word slowly enough. Myrmidons are notorious for a fierce active tank, and even with low SP this one was putting up an incredible struggle against my drones and capacitor warfare. Minutes pass, and my drones struggling to out damage the target's regeneration. Just when the enemy tank begins to fail, a local bump reveals reinforcements for the beleaguered Myrmidon. A Drake shows up on scan, and I'm forced with the possibility of abandoning my prey. Damn the Drake! Too much effort has been put into this kill, and I'm not going to let some PvE fit nobody force me off this carcass! Let him come!

The Drake lands, and immediately flights of heavy missiles hammer my ship. I move from the Myrmidon to the Drake, swapping to the capacitor rich new arrival to fuel my repairs. The Hammerheads are recalled, and I set my flight of Warriors to destroy the Drake's light drone flight. Once the drones are destroyed, I find I can tank both ships, as long as I stay in motion to migate missile damage, and with the Tracking Disruptor orbit the Myrmidon to avoid turret damage. I can't wipe the huge grin off my face: now I have two battlecruisers ready to be scrapped!

That is, if this ridiculous Myrmidon will finally die! In a moment of inspiration, I switch to Valkeries and set them on the Myrmidon. His tank quickly is smashed aside as the explosive damage chews through unresisting plate. I had forgotten I was flying in Serpentis territory, and was using damage typical of them on my target. No wonder he refused to quit!

The Myrmidon enters structure, and I keep my attention on the Drake, making sure he doesn't drift too far out of range for my warp disruptor. Unfortunately for me, the Myrm had drifted out of nos range, and my MAR had killed my capacitor. Seconds after realizing my error, my disruptor deactivated, and before I could replace it on the Myrmidon, he warps off, soon followed by the Drake. Too slow in retrieving my drones to pursue, I land at the celestial the Myrm escaped to, and watch him retreat once more to a station. I had lost him with roughly 20% structure left to go.

The next fifteen minutes waiting down my GCC are spent nursing my bruised ego, and fighting down my disquiet. Roughly a half an hour later I lose the ship to the gate camp mentioned earlier. At least that night I had a few good fights before going pop.

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