Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back to basics

The past two weeks have been met with moderate success as far as PvP goes, but results have been lackluster at best. Flying T2 hulls near exclusively placed me in the position where I wasn’t willing to commit to fights where I wasn’t sure about the situation. The problem with PvP is that nothing is certain, and every missed opportunity is another moment passing through my fingers without chance of recovery. Further, avoiding challenges meant I was finding myself winning ganks rather than fights. I needed to do something radical. I needed to fly something T1.

A caffeine powered freighter haul with fresh supplies and ship hulls delivered just what I needed. Among the tried and true hulls I was accustomed to, my market alt delivered several Cyclone class battlecruisers. I had seen some impressive feats with this first tier BC hull, and decided to give the ship a spin as well. If all else failed, it was incredibly affordable, and the change of pace would be well worth the cost.

I can’t understate how much of a paradigm shift this vessel represented to my normal PvP style. Normally when flying in a battlecruiser hull, such as with the Drake or Harbinger, I employ a passive buffer with minimal to no repair ability. The Cyclone hull, with its shield boost bonus relies on an active tank to mitigate incoming damage. The lack of midslots and need for a cap booster means I can employ only a Warp Scrambler, rather than the classic point/web tackle kit. ECM drones take the place of my usual thermal and explosive damage drone mixings, which provide breathing room for the Cyclone’s active tank to recover.

Prior to the latest expansion, the Cyclone was eclipsed by its more able cousin, the Hurricane. Changes with the QR patch made the Cyclone a viable vessel once more. With alterations to Warp Scramblers, ships with limited midslots could get by with only one tackle module, as long as their foes chose to use a MWD over an AB. As the vast majority of PvPers employ MWDs (for good reason), the Cyclone can manage while supporting a powerful tank/gank combination. I was soon to experience it could not just manage, but excel beyond its competition.

After several hours of fitting ships and logistics work, I took my Pig Razor into the field for the first time. I enjoyed how smoothly this plateless battlecruiser maneuvered, and systems passed by without event. Five jumps into my roam I happened upon my first challenge for the day: an outlaw Rapier idling on a gate.

With optimal munitions already loaded, I decided to provoke the Rapier pilot into action. Targeting systems acquired a lock on the recon ship, and ordinance filled the void between the ships, slamming into the shields of the Rapier. The Rapier pilot weathered a further three volleys before initiating jump procedures at the gate and escaping my grasp. I Waited down my aggression timer, and followed the recon ship into the adjacent system. I repeated my intentions with shell and missile, while he slipped away once more into another system. I was beginning to think he was griefing me for ammo.

Once more I jumped through the gate to pursue the cruiser, this time finding him waiting for me. Understanding the relationship between our two vessels, I decloaked, overheating my MWD to return to the stargate while firing at my opponent. Predictably, the Rapier gracefully moved away from the stargate to place himself at a comfortable 25km away from me, opening up with Artillery shells and a drone flight. Dual Webifiers caused a significant decline in my velocity, however inertia kept my battlecruiser on course at a good clip towards the stargate.

Arriving on the gate and with my quarry unattainable, I stilled my weapons and waited down my aggression timer, easily tanking the Rapier’s damage. Realizing this, the Rapier pilot commented in local that I was wasting his time, and warped off. He followed this with a smile and reported that he would return with a battlecruiser. I stated I’d be waiting, and watched him leave local. I docked up in a nearby station, repairing some mild heat damage caused by my MWD, and wisely placed the maximum insurance allowable on my ship. It was a few minutes before he returned with his battlecruiser.

The situation was this: we were in Half, with my opponent waiting for me on the Istodard stargate in a Hurricane battlecruiser. My plan of attack was to use my Warp Scrambler to hold him at about 7.5km away where my Barrage and HAMs would damage well, while the assumed EMP loadout my foe would employ would have lesser effect. ECM drones would harass the enemy BC, and would be recalled at the slightest sign of his drones countering them. While ECM drones are fragile, they don’t need to be in space to get the job done: their effect cycles just like normal ECM modules do.

All of this in mind, I warped to the Istodard gate at 10km, and both ships lurched into action upon landing. Projectile ordinance glittered, yellow streaks dancing between the two vessels as we jockeyed for position. My foe neglected a Warp Scrambler of his own, which meant my plan to stay at arms length would prevail. My scrambler shut down the Hurricane’s MWD, and I eased into my desired range, tapping my MWD when necessary to hold the position. My shields were holding remarkably well, regardless of the hurricane pilot resorting to Electro-Magnetic damage drones exclusively for this fight. I barked a laugh at that particular tactic, launching my own drones onto my foe.

My arsenal was making surprisingly good progress against the Hurricane’s active tank, while my Large Shield Booster had little issue matching incoming damage. The Hurricane pilot was oblivious to my drone flight, a decision which was to plague him with frequent sensor lock disruptions, all the while my shield booster erasing any headway into my shield reserves. Minutes marched past, and the battle seemed near routine. Even with two medium sized capacitor warfare modules running against me, the Hurricane’s armor was dropping must faster than my shields, and touched hull roughly the same time I reached 33% shields. Overheating my weapons erased remaining resistance, and the Hurricane proved no match for my ‘dated’ vessel. Pilots exchanged congratulations in local, and he departed.

I scooped the loot, returning to the nearby station to repair damaged modules caused by overheating. After undocking, The Hurricane pilot returned once more into local, and this time in a Broadsword HIC. I had a surprise for my vengeful foe, and warped to the Istodard gate just as he landed on the station. I jumped through, aligning to the Oddelulf gate, making sure to wait long enough for the Broadsword to catch up and identify my trajectory as I warped away. I had enlisted aid, and it waited for me in Oddelulf on the Istodard gate. I was going to catch this pilot, and prove that it doesn’t pay to make rash decisions. Despite my scheming, I was the one to be surprised this time, and will report on that soon™.


  1. Oh, you TEASE!

    Great read, love hearing the details of the tactics you use and hope somehow the knowledge you so generously share is sticking to at least a few of my brain cells.

  2. Edited post to clarify the outlaw pilot's BC choice earlier in the story.

    Glad you're enjoying the read, and hope what I write does indeed increase your ability in PvP.

  3. Damn, man. Sweet Blag. It almost makes me want to train up Cyclones, they sound like fun. Can't wait for the next installment, though.

    And yeah, I think reading this stuff does increase my PvP ability. It gives me knowledge, which is power. =D

  4. Heh. I hate waiting on next parts...

  5. Great pacing and explanation of the Cyclone's post-QR viability. Thumbs up!