Sunday, December 13, 2009


About three months back I finished training Gallente Battleship to V, a few weeks after that Large Hybrid Turret to V and the associated blaster spec to IV. Sadly, between the cost of armor rigs and my growing boredom with the game, I never got the chance to give Gallente battleships the shakedown they warrant. Recent activity in Placid yielded the perfect opportunity to acquire several of these hulls, placing them in the seed for my new hanger there.

With the Dominion patch looming just days away, many alliances had gone through constellations knocking every POS they found into reinforced, preparing for eventual takeover once the patch hit. A POS owned by a member in ERIS had been targeted in such a way by FREGE, and ERIS wasn’t about to let this occur without a fight. Jumping onto their comms as I was in the area, I found ERIS in the midst of forming a RR BS gang to refute a FREGE siege hopefully before the POS went into reinforced: perfect opportunity to try out a gank Megathron. A few jumps from my hanger I joined the ERIS fleet, and we were away.

Timing for the fleet was poor: the FREGE fleet was several minutes into the siege before the ERIS force even undocked, and maneuvers from Placid lowsec into Syndicate took precious time. A jump from Syndicate, the ERIS force was joined by a second fleet, composed of another alliance under attack from FREGE. Their POSes had already been knocked into reinforced, however between POS gunners and an ERIS stealth bomber gang, several FREGE support had been destroyed. The secondary fleet was composed of sniper BS, which took up position a jump behind our advancing RR gang.

Entering nullsec, FREGE activities became less clear: scouts began reporting that the POS was already put into reinforced, and the FREGE support fleet was fleeing the area. Things became fairly hectic over comms, until it was finally confirmed that FREGE had left with their work complete. However, several elements from their support fleet evidently were slower than their comrades, and it was possible we could cut them off from their route home.

Jumping into the system containing the friendly POS, fleet was ordered immediately to the D2-HOS gate, where we encountered the fleeing remains of the FREGE support. Jumping through, we were able to catch several fleeing battlecruisers, however nothing worth the 30+BS fleet which we represented. Denied their engagement, the two fleets decided to convene for a FREGE POS smash in an adjacent system. To this I tipped my hat, employing a wormhole in D2- to make my way back to Placid.

Less action (and thus enthusiasm) than my typical report contains, and I suppose I’ll use this space to express my dislike about the give and take of POS warfare. In theory it gives a wonderful incentive for gang PvP, as it focuses PvP activity at a single point, the POS. However, in the big fish eat little fish universe of EVE, it’s often a rather lopsided affair: not to mention the activity of sieging POSes themselves constitutes a form of PvP grind that to me is as fun as watching paint dry.

To me, EVE is all about small and medium gang warfare, employing skirmish tactics to counter larger gangs, a strategy which yields incredibly exciting combat which is never a forgone conclusion. Large scale PvP takes the individuality out of combat, and turns your foe into a faceless being, removing much of the personality of EVE PvP. Certainly I’m making many sweeping generalizations about large gang PvP, but I’ve devoted two years to nullsec combat. Fighting in medium to large gangs normally end in colorless meat grinder action, with little occurring beyond shooting primaries and moderate gang maneuvering. The change from that to small gang and solo PvP was a breath of fresh air that renewed an otherwise stale EVE existence.

Moving into small gang combat removed the overbearing FC figure, and required pilots to exhibit much more initiative and skill than a typical nullsec fleet required. The stakes are higher, however smaller gangs acquire more fights as their reduced numbers are more accessible for other players to counter with gangs of their own. Eliminating the need for very specific fittings for an optimal homogenized fleet (sniper, nano, RR) promotes highly varied options for small gangs, increasing the value of underused ships as well as allowing for creative fittings of more popular ship hulls. Put simply, small gang PvP makes EVE more interesting.

I do miss BS slugfests, capital ganks and the incredible flurry of activity that goes on in large scale fleet combat. There is an absurd amount of cloak and dagger between those climatic fleet engagements, which in itself lends EVE Online one of its most unique flairs. It’s also awesome to win a fleet fight, and literally require haulers to scoop the mass of loot strewn about a battlefield. However, all these perks couldn’t incite me to give a crap about the monotonous lifestyle and stale PvP regular large scale PvP alliances often offer their members.

I’d LOVE to eat my previous words, and join an alliance that manages combat without the drudgeries of politics, POS warfare, and elitism while managing regular, intense large scale combat. Not holding my breath, but who knows what the future holds.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I’m often ushered into FCing gangs that I take part of, whether they’re composed of friends I’ve flown with for years, or individuals I just met, while being the only outsider in their group. I guess it’s my knack for knowing what to do, or at least what best to do in order to preserve a gang while inflicting maximum damage to an opposing fleet. Or it’s merely the fact I have more drive than most pilots in EVE to PvP, and hence I’m forced into the most unpopular and demanding position in the fleet. So it goes.

Returning to Molden Heath to catch up on some much needed security status redemption, I found that my favorite pirate of the area, Ariartus was on the prowl with a few friends. Her gang had roamed the lowsec of the region for the past hour, and finding nothing, she too was looking forward to a little action in Great Wildlands. Not one to pass up good fun with a friend, I joined their gang, taking up the FC/scout roles in a Huginn for our gang of three Ruptures. All three pilots expressed the utmost desire to lose their cruisers in glorious combat, and I had every intention to shepherd them to an explosive end.

Fortunately for us, the time couldn’t be riper for a roam through GW: COW had just vacated the area, and in the vacuum Republic Alliance had set up shop in their old haunt M-MD38. RE-AL has nothing on the Foundati0n of old, and their diminished numbers haven’t a chance in policing their slice of nullsec from small marauding gangs such as our own. The gang moved past B-VIP9, scouting the pipe to NIH-02 with efficiency. Asking my flock if they desired immediate or eventual blobby death, and with an overwhelming response for the former, I jumped into M-MD38 to give the RE-AL population a look-see.

Ignoring the thirty pilots in local and wall of -10 standing most of them represented, a quick 360 scan revealed an Abaddon, ratting at the only belt in range. Giving the order to jump, I activated warp to the belt, and was rewarded with a moment of calm with which to admire my Matari recon. The Huginn is really a gorgeous ship: the green trails totally make it a killer. It doesn’t get nearly enough attention for its abilities, though that only translates to a cheaper hull, to which I can’t complain.

The warp tunnel collapsed; my reverie ended with a brutish looking golden hulk taking up my view. The Amarr battleship had just finished blasting apart an Angel Cartel ship, and was quite oblivious to the pain his vessel was about to endure. Twenty kilometers between his ship and my own were well within tackle range of my T2 disruptor and bonused webs; it was a simple matter of immobilizing his ship for the rest of my gang to take down.

Flights of Caldari Navy HAMs streamed from the Huginn, their sleek contours following trails of projectile ordinance to add a concussive climax to the relatively minor projectile impacts. Seconds passed slowly in the opening moments of the attack: time seems to dilate when you know you’re doing something utterly foolhardy, and have the off chance of getting away with it. Of course, realizing its mistake, time travels extra fast to catch up once things start to heat up. In my case, when a trio of Matari gunboats drop from warp to lend their arsenal to the battle.

The pirate Ruptures converged on the Abaddon to weave tight orbits, using their superior tracking to confound the efforts of the larger ship to fend them off. Fortunately, the ratter neglected any sort of tackle equipment to slow our assault to a speed his pulse lasers could track. Once the (disposable) Ruptures had demonstrated this, I eased into a similarly close orbit, drifting into optimal range of my autocannons.

So far so good, however good isn’t enough when ganking targets in an alliance’s home system. I ordered all ships to begin overheating their weapons to hasten the battleship’s destruction. The incessant chatter of projectile fire rose to a furious crescendo, crews on each Matari hull noticing an increase in the rhythmic vibration in the hull, just as a minor earthquake escalates to a moderate one.

Despite our efforts, support came trickling in to aid the beleaguered Abaddon. First arrival was a Rapier, decloaking 40km from our position. He must have sensed our menace by the way four drone flights immediately streamed toward his vessel, and promptly initiated warp away from the belt. Next was a Drake, landing at 30km. Unfortunately the mesmerizing sight of the Abaddon entering hull distracted us from pointing the battlecruiser, and it warped off as well. No more intrusions presented themselves in final seconds it took for us to evaporate the Abaddon’s hull.

Goal accomplished, evasive maneuvers were called, and the next twenty minutes were spent avoiding M-MD38 while exploring adjacent systems for more ratters. Lacking any appreciable targets, and with the Khabi gate in 7Q-8Z2 camped, we decided to brave RE-AL once more, pushing back through to M-MD38 on our way to BRT-OP. Stinging from the earlier ratter loss, RE-AL decided to give chase, following us through NIH-02, into N-DQ0D, culminating with an engagement in P1T-LP.

P1T was ideal for our skirmish gang. Mashing scanner as we went, we knew we had only battlecruisers and smaller chasing us, which meant we had a good chance of killing a few ships before larger vessels arrived from M-M. With the chase gang hot on our tracks, we jumped into P1T, deploying drones and waited for RE-AL to make their move.

Jumping into P1T, the RE-AL gang was welcomed with all the fury four Matari cruisers could provide. A Brutix, Prophecy, Eris and Rapier were first to decloak, and I called the Rapier primary, fearing its ability to dictate range over the rest of the ships on the field. The Eris deployed its bubble, opposing drone flights swooping toward targets as pilots jockeyed to lay their firepower on designated targets. It seemed the RE-AL gang had similar worries regarding my EWAR arsenal; my shields were quickly under assault by multiple drones, and taking hits from the Rapier’s artillery fire.

Their fears were realized as my webifiers both halted the retreat of the Rapier and charge of the Brutix, allowing ally Ruptures to swoop in on the enemy recon. The RE-AL gang had an ace to call upon however, and as the Ruptures arrived in range, a Falcon decloaked, disrupting locks of our gang. Cursing, I called the Falcon primary, overheating my MWD attempting to maneuver into range of the Falcon and away from the closing RE-AL gunships. I had to endure several cycles of ECM before my impressive signal strength finally won through, allowing me to regain lock. Ten seconds were all I needed to remove the plated force recon from the field.

With their ECM piece eliminated, the flow of action quickly turned to the pirate’s favor. The flimsy Eris had decided to follow adjacent to my Huginn to deal maximum damage, however without a Falcon to preserve it, drones quickly consumed it. The Rapier dropped quickly as well, lacking tank for greater tackling ability. With their support destroyed, we moved to focus on the battlecruisers holding the field.

We soon found that the Brutix sported a shield tank, which allowed our cruisers to move within web range to deal sickening damage, while evading blaster return fire. Unfortunately Ariartus wasn’t so careful in her approach, and lost her already damaged Rupture to the Brutix. The BC didn’t last much longer after that, leaving a Prophecy to battle our three remaining cruisers: a lone, brave and stupidly durable Prophecy which harbored the seed of our destruction.

Observing the Prophecy, I decided that it was using a pulse laser load out, and from that assumption ordered my gang to engage from 10km. From that range our cruisers would be able to deal good damage while the Prophecy would be forced to use Scorch M, which is inefficent against Matari plate and shielding. In reality the Prophecy was sporting medium autocannons, and was hitting the vulnerable EXP/KIN resistance holes of our cruisers.

A minute had passed when one of the Ruptures declared he was hitting structure, and unable to flee in time lost his ship. I cautioned the remaining Rupture to hold outside of web range, which should allow him to escape with ease. Time crept by as the Prophecy’s tank slowly diminished, however our progress on his plate was much too slow. The stargate adjacent to us flared to life, depositing RE-AL reinforcements into the system. Fearing the worst, I activated my MWD, burning away from the gate and telling my comrade to mimic the maneuver.

Unfortunately for the pirate Rupture, escape would not be possible. The Prophecy managed to slip a webifier onto his fleeing ship, and paired with a newly arrived Wolf, the Rupture was lost in a sapphire blaze. Several more RE-AL vessels jumped into system, their target now the sole remaining pirate cruiser on grid, my Huginn.

Chagrined at the loss of my command, I decided to destroy as many wrecks as possible and make my escape. Diving back toward the gate, I destroyed both recon wrecks, as well as the cruiser wrecks of my comrades. Green engine trails traced my path around the gate, skimming beyond weapons range of the RE-AL group until finally I departed to the stargate leading toward BRT-OP.

That route home wasn’t my true destination, however. Landing at a celestial adjacent to the outbound gate, I watched the RE-AL HIC as well as tackle support arrive at the gate, likely expecting me to arrive there at any moment. My Huginn however was already en route to the NIH gate, which I promptly jumped through. My misdirection afforded me a clear path back to B-VIP9, and finally into the comfortable embrace of Molden Heath lowsec.

The pirate gang was ecstatic with victory: they had planned on traveling into GW with hopes of a gank or two before being blobbed horribly. My smart FCing allowed us to destroy a great deal more than they expected, snubbing RE-AL alliance with painful losses while at it. Cheering up, I joined their celebration and bade each in turn good night as the Europeans logged off, having stayed up well into the morning.

Despite the fact they were expecting to lose their ships, the poor call to engage a ship known for its fantastic staying power egged at my conscious. So close to their home system, I should have called for the two Ruptures to destroy wrecks and retreat further into nullsec, using my webifiers to keep the Prophecy out of trouble. It just goes to show I have much to learn of skirmish warfare, even with over a year of small gang experience under my belt.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Continued from reunion.

The situation had me in a tight spot. I wasn’t about to fire upon my alliance mates, and as the alliance executor was in the STUGH gang, I’d likely be asked to fight if it came to that. I flipped over to alliance chat, and began my usual work as a liaison trying to sort things out.

Fortunately, a fight wasn’t necessary, and the BS heavy STUGH gang was willing to let the ERIS (Aggressive Dissonance) gang go. I relayed to the news to Cephas, dropped gang and switched over to STUGH comms, joining their gang as I did so. It didn’t take long for things to get interesting from there.

In the time it took for me to join the STUGH fleet, a scout one jump over in Ostingele reported two bumps in local, shortly preceding the arrival of two neutrals at our location in Pelelie. A Stabber decloaked over a dozen kilometers away from my position: too far for me to tackle, and the nimble cruiser warped away unmolested. The Rupture he was paired with wasn’t as lucky with his arrival, decloaking less than ten kilometers from my scrambler fit Brutix. I manage an overheated tackle, and begin ripping into the cruiser with my blaster arsenal.

The STUGH gang hesitantly followed my lead, combined ordinance culminating to the quick demise of the Rupture. The cruiser duo weren’t operating alone however; our pilot in Ostingele reported another ten bumps in local, which we took as our cue to leave. Battleships began entering warp just as Pelelie local began spiking, and after entering warp myself, I managed to glimpse the greater composition of the enemy fleet: ten or so BC, a few cruisers. It’d had been a losing battle to entertain them with sentry aggression on a gate.

Landing at a different celestial than the fleet, I continued watching scanner as I aligned to a new destination in case any hostiles followed my escape. Our FC had warped the gang to a station, which had promptly docked to escape and assess the situation. Inquiring how he intended to proceed, he replied that due to his lack of experience in lowsec, I should take FC in his stead. Brilliant strategy, commander.

Spying a newly arrived Nidhoggur on scan, I dropped any aspirations of combating the BC gang, and docked myself. Alliance attendance was limited due to the time of night, and we couldn’t expect any blue reinforcements. Grinning, I shot a chat invite to Cephas, and quickly worked out a compromise: the reinforcements we needed, without the expected drama, courtesy of yours truly.

Leaving Cephas to sort out his people, I concentrated on keeping tabs on the enemy fleet, which didn’t seem in the mood to camp a station at length. Roughly twelve minutes after losing their Rupture, the BC gang began filtering out of local, back into the Ostingele system. From there, they flirted with our scout still remaining in Ostingele (who flew an Armageddon, a very heavy scout) yielding precious more minutes to wait down GCC and for ERIS to mobilize.

Finally our GGCs expired, and the STUGH gang undocked, entering warp towards the Ostingele gate. The plan was to use our known force as the anvil, and once the enemy fleet was engaged, jump the ERIS force in as the hammer. The only trick with the situation would be to engage the enemy fleet in such a way that they didn’t merely cream our ships before our comrades could turn the tide.

Landing on the Ostingele gate, the plan began to deteriorate as the situation within Ostingele shifted. The BC fleet kept moving about, at some points chasing our geddon within the system, at other points warping to stargates or stations. I wasn’t about to complain, as this gave time for ERIS to converge a jump from Ostingele, however indecision has its costs. Amidst the confusion, the BC gang filtered from Ostingele local, until only three enemy pilots remained.

Fearing the worst, I ordered all ships to jump, and converge on the gate our scout estimated they had left through. With the ERIS and STUGH gangs together, we no longer had the element of surprise, but with our combined force of arms, I wasn’t much worried. Landing on the Alperaute gate, I readied to send our HIC in to investigate the adjacent system, when a lone battlecruiser, a Hurricane, landed on our gate at 10km.

I decided to force the issue once and for all, tackling the Hurricane with my Brutix, while calling for the rest of the gang to hold fire. Holding the BC down should force his comrades to jump back and join the fight, leaving us in a good position on the gate for remote repairs and deagressing. I wasn’t disappointed, as local began to increase as the enemy fleet returned to aid their comrade.

The Hurricane pilot was pushing the bait card a bit too much, and hadn’t taken any hostile action on our gang. Not wanting to lose my Brutix needlessly in the opening moments of the fight, I warped off, giving my active tank time to recover before returning to the greater fight that was about to take place. As I warped off I placed Cephas in charge of target calling, and began the grim wait between warp hops.

With my ship departing, the Hurricane took its cue as well, leaving the field just after my Brutix. The hostile fleet took its time decloaking, and I was able to land at the celestial and start aligning back before any hostilities broke out. Curiously enough, the Hurricane had decided to follow me in warp, landing several kilometers away from my position. I tackled the Hurricane just as Cephas started taking fire at the gate, and had begun directing primaries for our fleet.

Initially I hoped by tackling the Hurricane at the celestial, we could have our engagement at a celestial without the worry of sentries, but with the fight underway on the Alperaute gate that hope was dashed. Additionally, the Hurricane decided to return the favor, matching my tackle kit with a point of his own, and had begun returning fire. Lacking optimal range for my own arsenal, and capacitor from running repairs tackling his ship at the gate, I was in poor condition to win this fight on my own. As I jockeyed closer to the Hurricane, the other two pilots which had been curiously absent from recent action arrived, sealing my fate.

Cephas, while losing his Armageddon to the combined BC fleet had carried the day, his target calling resulting in the in total destruction of the enemy fleet. The three ships that had split off to deal with my Brutix arrived too late to affect the outcome of the fight, and had been taken apart piecemeal. The overall engagement can be seen here.

Distancing myself from any possible drama within the alliance, I had never understood why STUGH had decided to purge those members that eventually formed ERIS. That an ERIS FC led a STUGH gang to victory merely cemented my dislike of the current situation. At least I proved to the two alliances that cooperation is still possible, which will hopefully lead to more joint operations in the future.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Scheduled combat report put off in order to build anticipa. . . because I felt like it. Conclusion to previous entry in a few days.

A reply from Ombey after commenting on one of his recent blag posts got me thinking about my future in EVE, specifically what I could be doing right now. Well, I’m quite content with what I’m doing, however there’s a distinction between awesome solo lowsec PvP, and awesome small gang lowsec PvP: one can be done anywhere, while the other can only be done in a populated corp. Lacking comrades in my own organization, I’m left considering whether I should leave to join another. This quandary leads immediately to who I could possibly join that could meet my needs?

I have my friends in Rote Kapelle and Aggressive Dissonance, who have proven themselves able gang mates both past and present. However their emphasis on nullsec PvP has always estranged my relationship with them, especially STUGH, which has lacked coherence of late. That aside, it’s an easy bet that I could return to visit, joining gangs to do exactly as I do now with them. So the tried and true is out.

My old allies around Molden Heath have for the most part moved on or faded away. Triksterism, while never much of an ally but a friend regardless left to do his own thing, leaving that association fallow. Capital Punishment folded some time ago, and its principle members are now spearheading Aggressive Dissonance, dismissed previously. The Black Sinisters crowd is still functioning in Molden Heath, however I don’t feel like being that one guy in the off time zone, logging in when corpmates are either waking up or going to bed. So that’s out of the question.

In my time combating Foundati0n and now Republic Alliance, I’ve drawn the respect of several of their pilots, so I probably have a foot in the door with their organization. However, they’re NRDS, so sod that.

Well, what’s left? What’re some of my dream corporations I could join?

Well, I hear Club Bear is starting up again. The Bears are also in the same alliance housing Garmon, Laedy and a few other friends from my Molden Heath past, all flying together under the banner of PvP movie pwnage. Having flown with Garmon, I’d definitely enjoy working with him as well, if there wasn’t that nasty time zone difference between us.

The Accursed are home to another dream team of pilots whose names coincide with my favorite EVE PvP flicks. I’m unsure if they’re even open for recruitment, though I’d like to imagine my resume would be up to par, considering our methods for PvP run parallel with each other. Definitely a good option if I could get in.

Raxip made it into Veto Academy; I always have the option of joining Veto proper, especially with my old corpmate vouching for me. From all Raxip has asserted, PvP in the VETO fold is a glorious thing. Now if only I could catch the bastard online to iron out details, I might give this some serious thought.

Last but definitely not least, there’s the alliance that started this whole line of thinking: Ursha’Khan. They RP. They fly Minnie. They shoost Amarr. They’re cloak-faggy. They’ve been around forever doing what I love best, small gang PvP. Just about anyone who’s played this game at some point wanted to join them or shoot them, without ever having seem them in space, merely due to the concept behind their alliance being that cool. They represent what this whole Minmatar thing is about, or at least that’s what it said in the back story. Well, I can’t remember distinct details, but that sounds about right.

If it were up to me, I’d have a run with all these corporations/alliances like a man through a buffet, sampling each in turn for a few months until I found the one that suited me. The cool thing about most of these organizations is that I know a few pilots from each of them: I know they’re full of nice people, and are chill about details like that. It’d be okay for me to move on after giving my best, and come back if I decide they were actually ‘the one’.

I’m not sure where I want to end up, and considering the dynamic theater of EVE, I’m comfortable with that. I know what I like about this game, what I dislike, what I want and what I need to avoid. It’s amusing to consider that these concepts were in flux for so long; however it’s only after a few years that I have really established with myself what is enjoyable about this MMO, and what will likely bring about that joy in abundance. So with that in mind, I think I’m going to send out a few mails, join a channel or two and get a feel for just what’s available out there. Who knows: perhaps by 2010, Sard will once again be trying something completely different.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


After spending my first days back in EVE around Molden Heath and Goinard, my alliance began to pick up on my activities and once again started to chide me to join them in Syndicate. While I wasn’t about to move my operations into nullsec out of personal preference, planting a hanger in the nearby Placid region would place me in comfortable roaming distance from my comrades in arms, as well as acting as a staging point to launch roams into Placid itself. I like the lowsec of Placid. It houses an ample number of both PvPers and PvEers, both of which are concentrated within a cluster of roughly a dozen systems: high target density if you hunt at the right time of the day.

However, Placid was not a target region in my logistics planning months earlier, and it would take several days to acquire and move sufficient assets for a new hanger to be readied. Not to be deterred, I decided to finalize my withdrawal from Huola by jumping to my clone there, and moving one of my last remaining ships out of dock: an autocannon fit Punisher. Setting my destination to a system in Placid, I had only an even twenty jumps to travel. Even with a 400mm plate fit, my sturdy frigate slew the distance between regions in little time.

Arriving in Placid with no plans and nothing larger to switch into, I decided to see how much mischief my little bleeder fit could get itself into before going pop. Flying about the region in a hasty ship would also allow me to reacquaint myself with the locals as I could quickly scout who dwelt where and with what forces I could expect to face. I decided to check northern Placid first, and work my way south from there toward the area my alliance is currently active.

Two jumps from Maut, a pair of assault ships started trailing me: an Ishkur and Hawk. My quota of mischief currently unfilled, I decided that I’d experiment to see how much tolerance the AS pilots had for bumping. After landing on the Alparena gate, I waited for the frigate pair to catch up. As each ship landed on the gate, I maneuvered my Punisher to collide with each ship, eventually ping ponging my ship between the two. The opposing pilots retaliated by locking my ship and attempting bump back, which I laughed at as I exited through the gate into Alparena.

The pair followed me into system, and performed the unexpected: they both decloaked with haste, and as I attempted to warp to Maut, the Ishkur locked and placed a point on me, deploying a flight of Hobgoblin IIs my way as he did so. Standard missiles screamed from launch bays nestled in the Hawk, speeding ahead of the drones to strip my Punisher of shields in a single volley.

Shocked, I approached the Ishkur, moving into range to place tackle and mete out Barrage S justice. I couldn’t understand why the AS pilots thought they could engage under sentry fire and survive the encounter, but I wasn’t about to let them flee from their folly. My hefty armor buffer barely registered damage as the Hawk’s missiles and Ishkur’s drones began their assault on my plated hull, all the while my SAR reduced damage accumulation to a slow trickle.

I had overheated and applied my webifier before the Ishkur could rush into blaster range, forcing it to wade into range all the while taking significant damage from sentries and my ACs. The combination proved too much for the Ishkur, and he predictably kersploded less than a minute into the fight. Turning my attention to the Hawk, I was pleased to find he had coasted within 10km of my ship. It was a simple matter of easing into scrambler range to pin the assault ship down for the gate sentries to finish off.

The entire flurry of action left two T2 wrecks adjacent to the gate in less than a minute. Throughout the duration of the fight, I didn’t have time to fire even 50 rounds of munitions into targets before the sentries finished picking them off. I lightheartedly consoled the two rookie pilots as I scooped their loot, and then continued on my journey to Maut to deposit the spoils there.

A short break for drink later I undocked my Punisher, this time setting my sights south toward TXW-EI, the gateway system into Syndicate my alliance had chosen for their base of operations in the area. A rather uneventful nine jumps later, having chased one T1 cruiser/frigate gang to highsec, and another to a complex, I was chatted by an old friend Cephas Boaz from STUGH, who had split off to form the splinter alliance Aggressive Dissonance. While exchanging pleasantries we decided to form a gang to try for the cruisers raiding the complex, my friend logging in his main in a Cyclone to supply DPS. Unfortunately, the three jumps Cephas had to travel were too many, as the cruisers finished their work at the plex and had begun to land on my gate to leave.

Doing the only thing I could imagine to pique their interest to stay, I rushed to bump the nearest ship, bumping between the three cruisers in the enemy gang as they landed on the gate. Incredibly they paused in their flight, each in turn locking me after several seconds of my irritating actions. A Thorax was first to open fire on me, followed soon by a second Thorax, both unleashing their drone and blaster arsenal on my minor frigate. My Punisher slipped between streams of Antimatter rounds, deftly avoiding fire while tanking what little managed to land on its golden hull. I traded tackle with the nearest Thorax, closing in to a tight orbit around the cruiser, using my small Nosferatu to fuel repairs while waiting for my DPS backup to cream the cruisers on the gate.

Additional aid became unnecessary as I realized the novice pilots of these cruisers had fit little in the way of a tank. The first Thorax exploded brilliantly before Cephas could even enter the system, and I had to pull back my pitiful DPS from the second to ensure Cephas got on at least one KM from the engagement. My companion was barely able to lock in time before the second cruiser evaporated from sentry fire. The third cruiser, a Caracal, choose to jump once Cephas had arrived at the gate and placed two volleys of EMP M into his shields.

Cephas warped off to wait down aggression, and I once again moved through the wrecks to scavenge anything of value. Not wanting to wait the full fifteen minutes of GCC, Cephas prompted me to continue scouting adjacent systems, which I readily relented to. While I scouted, Cephas opted to switch to a passive tanked HAM Drake nearby, and began to head in the direction I was probing when I found us another prize: an Ishtar, this time likely belt ratting.

I quickly narrowed down the belt the Ishtar was engaged with, noting the number of wrecks already on scan at the belt: it appeared the Ishtar was done with the rats there, and would likely move on to another belt soon. Predictably, the Ishtar moved one belt down, which I immediately warped to in hopes I could catch him at zero kilometers from the belt. No such luck: the Ishtar had sniper BMs from the belts, and was engaging rats with light drones at distance.

My AC Punisher devotes the vast majority of its power grid and CPU to a massive tank; there is little enough room for weapons, none at all for a speed mod. I didn’t have the luxury of being able to rush out 100km to tackle the HAC. Instead I’d have to approximate a way to warp on top of him using celestials as a midpoint, warping to the celestial then back at the belt at range, hopefully closer to my target. Picking a stargate roughly in line between myself and the Ishtar, I warped off, and after arriving at the stargate, back to the belt at 100km. The Ishtar was now 40km away from me.

With Cephas a few jumps out, I was left with little other choice as I slow boated to the Ishtar, hoping he’d either ignore my smaller frigate or decide to engage me. Kilometers crept by every few seconds as the distance between our two ships deteriorated: a hasty ‘Look At’ later I found that the Ishtar had begun to approach me under normal speed, making my task easier. He was still enamored with destroying pirate frigates with a flight of Hornet IIs; no hostile action was taken until I came within twelve klicks of his ship. It was then we both locked each other, I placing my tackle first while the Ishtar began to recall his drones to deal with my Punisher.

It was slow going trying to move within a close orbit of the drone carrier, as a webifier had reduced my march towards him to a crawl. Small hybrid fire from the HAC lanced into my frigate, soon joined by the flight of Hornet IIs which quickly combined to savage my frigate with devastating effectiveness. To make matters worse, the Ishtar pilot had opted to fit a medium energy neutralizer, evaporating my ability to alleviate my woes via SAR. My fate sealed, I steeled myself to my task of immobilizing the HAC, employing my Nos to keep tackle equipment active. Roughly two thirds of my armor was gone by the time Cephas arrived in system with his Drake.

While the drones made steady progress into my armor, I had incredible difficulty tracking their progress around my ship with autocannon, as I couldn’t spare my webifier in fear the HAC would flee before Cephas had a chance to arrive and exchange tackle. Cephas finally landed at the belt at my location, resolving lock on the enemy HAC with practiced ease to loose deadly volleys of Caldari Navy munitions into the Ishtar, as well a flight of light drones to counter those demolishing my vessel. It was too late to make a difference for my frigate however, as it was moments after the Drake landed that my Punisher hit hull, and succumbed to the Ishtar’s drone flight.

Cephas’ flurry of HAMs turned out more than a match for the passive armor tank of the Ishtar. The drone carrier’s tank failed a short two minutes after contact with the Drake, granting us a worthy prize for our endeavors. Cephas scooped loot, and we headed back to his base of operations in Placid.

Before setting out to scout for Cephas, I had joined him on his vent server to smooth out communications. By the time of our Ishtar kill, voice comms had become much more active, with many old comrades from my earlier days in STUGH logging in for their piece of action for the night. Upon reaching his hanger Cephas sold me a Brutix, and we formed a gang to continue our roam through Placid. We set out BC heavy, with my dual MAR Brutix spearheading the gang, scouting one system ahead in hopes another gang would engage my tanky vessel first. It wasn’t long before I arrived in Pelilie, jumping into a small BS gang of none other than my allies in STUGH!

The situation was made all the more awkward as not only were my friends in Aggressive on shooting terms with STUGH proper, I was FCing for their gang. To say the least, the next half hour was an incredibly interesting flurry of explosions, which I’ll report on next post.

Fly reckless folks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

greener pastures

Hard to believe I haven’t written up a combat report in over half a year. Vacation’s over; let’s see how out of practice these fingers are.

During the three months of my absence from EVE, I’ve redistributed my ship and fitting assets from older hangers, mothballing them in preparation of the time that I’d return to the game. After the interesting discovery that Sard had been banned during my absence, and the two days it took to get him back in action, I was in the perfect position to return to my bread and butter of EVE: lowsec PvP!

Raxip Elamp had set me up with the coordinates of an awesome lowsec system, Goinard, which is less than a dozen jumps from the major lowsec areas in EVE while itself only a jump from highsec space. Having a hanger there also allows me to quickly join Raxi for PvP, something I’d been looking forward to in the time since our last venture together. I quickly assembled a Rupture, deciding that I needed a hastier option than my normal battlecruiser arsenal to explore the lowsec regions I had set myself to conquer.

Raxip’s approximations about the richness of the area didn’t disappoint: three jumps after undocking I arrived in the Angatalie System, to a duo of battlecruisers who couldn’t possibly be up to any good. I grew a grin, gave the mental shrug of the borderline insane and launched my ship into alignment towards one of the gates in the system. The Harbinger/Myrmidon pair didn’t disappoint, immediately locking me up and placing disruptor points on my Rupture. Without missing a beat, I returned the favor to the Myrmidon, matching his point while loosing a volley of Barrage M.

Before the fight was underway, I had quickly formed a few guidelines to make victory possible: keep the Harbinger at 20km distance or greater, as well as keeping the Myrmidon within 15km. These distances would allow me to engage without the withering effects of turret or possible capacitor warfare modules affecting my ship, as well as drawing out the Myrmidon’s bonused drone flight to a distance where it’d be difficult to recall them back to their bay before myself or the sentry guns annihilated them. Fifteen kilometers is also the distance where my loadout of ACs do roughly 50% of their maximum damage; enough with sentry turret fire to wither a dual MAR Myrmidon down given enough time.

Putting my plan into action, I angled my ship away from the Myrmidon, and moved to establish a distance that placed the Myrm directly between myself and the Harbinger, as well as away from the stargate. Autocannon fire glittered from my ship, creating a lethal trail of ordinance as my Rupture nimbly maneuvered from the stargate into position, occasionally connecting with a member of the drone swarm hastily approaching my ship. Tense seconds passed as I switched overview settings to lock up the majority of the enemy drone flights: my Rupture didn’t have an armor repairer fit, and any incoming damage that could be avoided had to be hastily neutralized for me to survive.

Sentry turrets cycled off my battlecruiser aggressors to aid with the near dozen of medium drones buzzing around my ship; between my own drones, ACs with webifier and the damage from the sentries the drones were subdued, at the cost of a third of my armor. With that threat out of the way, I settled into position to hammer at the Myrmidon, while bursting my MWD to keep the Harbinger at an arm’s reach. It was around this time another combatant decloaked his Nemesis 25km away from my cruiser, firing a volley of torpedoes to at least contribute to the fight. His ill planned gesture ended on a bright note.

Fortunately for me, it seemed the battlecruiser duo weren’t expecting the war of maneuvers that I was giving them. The Myrmidon was shield tanked, meaning that I was able to afford drifting a few kilometers closer to it than planned, as I had no additional enemy tackle to worry over. Both enemy ships were fit with afterburners instead of MWDs, which meant I was easily able to keep the Harbinger at range, while tantalizing the Myrmidon with being *just* out of reach. After traveling several dozen kilometers from the gate, the Myrmidon began to slow, until reaching normal velocity. It then turned tail and began a slow crawl back towards the stargate.

With the Myrmidon’s will and capacitor broken, it now became a game of keeping the Harbinger away from the Myrmidon so that he couldn’t cover his ally’s retreat to safety. Once again, good fortune smiled on me, as a glance over to the Harbinger’s armor reserves suggested that the pilot neglected an armor rep in his fittings: he had roughly 60% remaining, slowly whittling down as gate sentries cycled from the Myrmidon to his ship. I switched my drone flight from the Myrmidon to the Harbinger, exacerbating his worry until finally forcing the Amarr BC to warp off towards a nearby celestial and flee the field. I was finally alone with the stricken Myrmidon, and turned the full force of my weapons to bear upon him.

Overheating my ACs saw the last of the Myrmidon’s shield reserve destroyed, and it was a hasty matter removing the unresisted plate underneath. With the Myrmidon destroyed, I set out to locate the Harbinger, who was still in system. Several minutes of chasing later, I moved on to repair in an adjacent system as he had opted to warp to a midsafe instead of engaging my damaged Rupture. Unknown to him, I had my alt ready for the occasion a mere four jumps away, and within minutes had him probed down and finished the damaged Harbinger in the deadspace of his manufacture.

I happily scooped loot from the wrecks strewn about the system, and returned to Goinard for repairs and munitions. While I still disagree with Raxip that Molden Heath is a dead region as far as PvP goes, I have to admit that his slice of space definitely has a nicety of action to it!