Sunday, January 24, 2010

armageddon roulette

Recently I have finished training Amarr Battleships to V, as well as the associated Large Energy Turret skill to V. These two events mark the completion of a desire sparked over a year ago, after watching Kil2’s debut PvP video, Armageddon. In honor of Kil2’s incredible success with Amarr BS, as a PvPer and EVE showman, I decided to acquire a few geddon hulls to sample what the race’s BS line had to offer.

The Armageddon offers an incredible turret platform for its price. Large pulse lasers hit out to 15km with short range ammo, yielding maximum damage at the very edge of short range weaponry. This, along with enough bandwidth for five heavy drones allows the geddon to constantly kite opponents while inflicting sickening damage. Combined with a utility highslot to accommodate a heavy neut, and enough lowslots to fit a tank and damage modules, the geddon represents perhaps the greatest combination of gank and tank against price to fit versus any other ship in EVE. Its only glaring weaknesses, lack of midslots and low signal strength are easily offset by intelligent positioning and pairing with support to counter enemy ECM.

My first chance to use the ship came after an interceptor roam into Great Wildlands turned sour, losing my Taranis to a RE-AL gate camp leading my gang of ceptors through one of RE-AL’s home systems. Returning to Molden Heath after over an hour of roaming with nothing to show for it, I decided to switch from the Huggin I opted for after losing my Taranis to a geddon, and give the MH loop a spin before docking for the night. The BS’s capacity for damage and tank would come in useful over the next half hour.

First blood came from a missioning Hurricane returning to Istodard from Half, its novice fitting falling quickly under large laser pressure. Waiting down GCC, our gang of two Taranises and my Geddon moved onwards to Bosena, where we were able to lock down and eliminate another novice pilot flying a Rupture. Waiting down our second GCC within 20 minutes, several pirates in local decided to taunt us, warping speed fit cruisers at range to celestials we idled at, however refused to engage.

After several minutes of playing cat and mouse with a pirate Ishtar and Cynabal, we managed to catch an eager Cyclone at the top belt of the system, drawing it into a slugging match against my Armageddon. The Cyclone attempted to close range with my battleship to spoil the tracking of my large turrets, however without a webifier to counter my own, the battlecruiser was only able to idle after my BS, taking the full force of my laser arsenal. Under the capacitor pressure of my neutralizer, the XL-booster tank of the Cyclone quickly crumbled.

The next day found me again roaming Molden Heath in my geddon, this time with only a Cheetah for support. After several minutes of scouting, a small gang of battlecruisers were spotted in Istodard, idling in deadspace adjacent to one of the stations in system. While probing, I was contacted by a pirate in one of the public channels I frequent, and was joined by a T1 fit Hurricane just as my alt finished probing the target battlecruisers out of their safespot. I quickly warped my gang onto the unsuspecting Drake and Hurricane, calling the enemy Hurricane primary. The Drake managed to warp out, condemning his friend to an ignoble demise. Just as the Hurricane began entering structure, the Drake returned with another Hurricane, and the battle was joined in earnest.

As the first Hurricane exploded, I called the newly arrived cane primary, and suggested overheating our weapons to hasten his destruction. It was a race against time to down the second cane before my comrade bit it himself. The enemy cane opted for a hefty dual 1600mm plate tank, hardened by explosive and kinetic hardeners. This left his armor wide open for a laser based platform to exploit, forming a nightmare scenario as my Dual Heavy Pulse Lasers bore down at optimal range. The enemy Hurricane flashed brilliantly only seconds before my associate was destroyed himself.

With only the Drake and my Armageddon left on the field, I was left with the amusing scenario of trying to run down a BC with a BS. Neither of us had fitted a speed boost module, and for the next minute and a half, the Drake attempted to make range while my geddon did its best to keep up. Eventually the Drake tired of the exercise, closed range with my battleship and was hastily blown apart, its bloated signature radius easy pickings for my large turrets. Loot scooped, I entertained the BC pilots roughly an hour longer, idling about their home station and warping in at various ranges, trying to incite another conflict. They had escalated to battleships, and refused to engage my lone geddon under sentries. Eventually moving off, I managed to snag an outlaw Hurricane off a gate with the help of a few friends, adding to the day’s tally before taking a break.

Later that night, I was joined by Lt Graham who wanted to try ECM for the first time. We headed over to Heild, and with the system brimming with activity, set to work attempting to tackle something willing to fight. Our first victim was a speed fit Zealot, who decided to afk at a safespot in a system full of pirates, a feat he won’t repeat with that ship. Minutes later, we managed to engineer an engagement with a pirate gang in the system, using my geddon as bait. After spotting an Arbitrator on scan, I warped to a planet at 20km, and had Graham hold off grid aligned to my location. Sure enough, the Arbitrator arrived at my planet 20km from me, and quickly moved to tackle my BS. The Arbitrator’s tracking disruptors were countered by my heavy drone flight and energy neutralizer, and with Graham’s support the EWAR cruiser was in dire straights. Roughly half way through the Arbitrator’s tank, an additional two Hurricanes arrived at the planet, along with a Falcon decloaking 40km from my position.

Graham was unable to jam the Falcon first; however I managed to engage the recon ship with my drone flight before losing lock. Armor peeled off my ship steadily, and unable to acquire a lock my position was becoming more and more desperate. Incredibly, the Falcon lost his jams on our ships after three cycles, in fact losing his ship to the group of Berserkers I engaged him with half a minute earlier. With the enemy recon removed from the field, Graham was able to assert himself once more, and incoming damage dropped significantly.

It wasn’t going to be enough to win the fight however, as at least one Hurricane was able to maintain sensor lock on my geddon and apply devastating projectile ordinance across my ship. With the buffer on my battleship already depleted, my single LAR could not counter the DPS the pirate gang maintained. Aligning out, my only chance was to neut down the ships nearby and hope Graham could jam the rest and facilitate my escape. Incredibly, Graham kept failing with his racial jammer while a single off racial kept the second Hurricane placid. After a minute of jockeying, Graham’s Blackbird finally jammed both enemy battlecruisers and I made my way into warp.

As the only battleship in a small gang engaging in lowsec piracy, the experience hasn’t been without setbacks. Without support, a lone BS is easy pickings for groups of smaller ships to overcome, especially if enemy gangs maintain EWAR support as well. My first geddon loss was an attempt to bail out Graham, who has the worst of luck flying a blaster fit Ferox in lowsec.

Graham is able to find ideal ships to engage with his active tanked battlecruiser, however they always seem to have support nearby cloaked or off grid from his targets. Once he attempts to engage, the trap is sprung and he finds himself with little to do but watch his ship bleed out and die. This time, a Vagabond had managed to slip out of scrambler range, and summoned a Curse and Crow to down his beleaguered Ferox. Unfortunately, I was a system over off gate, having just destroyed a pirate Hoarder with my geddon. By the time I slowboated back to gate, jumped through and arrived on grid, Graham’s BC was bleeding structure and soon popped. I was then left with a two speed fit T2 cruisers and a Crow to contend with.

While the odds were entirely against me, I had a few advantages in the fight. The Curse neglected Tracking Disruptors in his fitting, opting for a stronger shield tank. This meant I would at least be able to hit out to disruptor range with my turrets, albeit without Scorch as I opted for a cheaper fitting. While the Curse was able to neut me, my heavy neut was able to do the same, and bolstered by a heavy cap booster far longer than the Curse could sustain under its effect. The Crow would lose all its capacitor immediately after venturing within 25km of me, and had to flee repeatedly from my approaching drone flight. Without Scorch crystals however, I wasn’t dealing enough damage to deter my aggressors, and was forced to rely on the hope I could neut down those ships still in range, disable their tackle and flee. Despite a second where I accomplished this task, I wasn’t able to jam warp in time, and lost the ship.

More recently, I had decided to engage the bait of a Bastards gang in Heild, destroying the Stabber they tempted me with though rapidly finding myself TDed by an Arbitrator, jammed by a Blackbird and under heavy fire from a pair of Thoraxes. With the help of a friend in a Jaguar and my drone flight, I was able to force the BB off grid, however by then the Thoraxes had established a tight orbit around my BS to foil my tracking, and the Arbitrator’s EWAR allowed him to range tank any return fire from my laser arsenal. Again, I was forced to attempt to neut down those ships tackling me, though an abundance of scramblers made this a futile effort.

Even with the two losses, the fitting I employed meant I was losing only 15 million isk a ship, while having a blast flying a battleship regularly in lowsec for the first time in over a year. The hull is so cheap and insurable that I can casually engage any force that seems approachable and treat resulting losses with flippant indifference. It’s truly a great ship for the risky small gang and solo combat I frequently engage in, able to fly alongside T1 hulls smaller than it with similar or even less ISK investment.

Friday, January 1, 2010


It’s been a long time with no writing. Fortunately for my audience, individuals within ERIS have taken to reading my blag and have been nagging me over vent to quit slacking. Forgive this gladiator his idling: my new year’s resolution shall be to forgo my scholarly and familial obligations to deliver to you quality PvP reports, analysis and stratgery on a daily basis. Well, something like that.

The time since my last post has been good to me. I’ve been able to form a rough basis of what I wish to do in the coming months. Intriguingly, my intentions for 2010 reach back to my explorations into PvP December of 2008, around when I first began this enterprise of small gang piracy and blagging. Hopefully this year I can maintain a tempo for myself that supports consistent action without the eventual EVE burnout which often follows.

Planned for the new year:

- Active recruitment
- Fitting/piloting experimentation
- Increased small gang activities
- W-hole exploration/exploitation
- PvP blagging competitions
- Lowsec PvP promotions
- RP writing

Further explanation with future posts. I hope everyone had fantastic winter solstice celebrations with friends and family, and are looking forward to this new year with as much elation as myself!