I had not scratched my PvP itch in a while and when I found myself last night with time to spare, I decided to check out the open roams that Spectre Fleet community offers. And luckily, a Frigate Roam was announced to start shortly with starting point in Ostingele – aimed to roam through the nearby nullsec. Shield frigates, eh? Turns out I have multiple Tristans and Atrons but nothing shield. My alt had a few Merlins from RvB days but they were still rocket-fit and far, far away. But no matter, Frigates are cheap and a quick trip to Dodixie later, I found myself in possession of a throw-away Merlin, fully insured. I had no illusion that it would survive the first encounter.
See, during the roams, my ability to survive depends solely on 2 factors – my ability to get out of tackle range and sheer dumb luck. In my EVE PvP career, I have never, not once received repairs from my fleet mates even when I asked for it, so I don’t bother anymore but I try to live as long as I can and warp off if possible. That actually has worked a few times for me – basically, its what you have to do in Stealth Bombers. The strategy generally means, I need to be outside of the immediate firefight in kiting ship, during my very short tenure in Faction War, I liked flying a rail Algos with decent success. I figured a rail Merlin could do the same thing and hence fitted for range, speed and shield tank.
So, we assembled in Ostingele its nice to see a ball of frigates around me and FC lifebloodrunner decides that we neither have the logistics nor the numbers to execute a real roam and that we shall camp a
hole gate somewhere. Suits me fine, never done a gate camp before but died to a few, so maybe I learn something.
He wants us to bring bubbles and brings in an Iteron filled with those things, we provide eyes on our side of the gate and all goes well – until someone decloaks and attacks a Bustard. Did I mention that we are in Frigates on a low-sec gate? I am no PvP expert but even I know what gate guns can do to a frigate so I leave him alone, especially since our FC clearly gave orders to disengage. We warp off, everyone to station where FC shells out warp bubbles for us to bring to Nullsec.
And off we go, heading out, scouts are “+1” and I am actually surprised by the discipline of the fleet. There are no porn links, people hold on gates when ordered and generally, this shapes up to be solid fleet – the poor sole Logi Pilot is clearly shaking in his boots and FC and team do their best to reassure him. We traverse 2 nullsec systems with no opposition, only crisp reports from our scouts fill TeamSpeak.
FC decides to camp a specific gate, I pop my first bubble activate it and wait for it to expand – in the meantime, FC discovers that we are at a “regional gate”. I think those are bigger (?) than normal gates and hence less suitable for camps but what do I know? Ask me something about Wormholes. Orders come to pack up and move and so we do, the gate nicely stacked with bubbles when a hostile fleet is announced to come in.
Alright, so the bubbles are on our side of the gate, the hostile fleet comes from the other, FC orders everyone close but that doesn’t really work for my kiting ship. I don’t really want to defy orders but I need some range and edge out to 15km off the gate, close enough that I can pulse my MWD once and be right on it, far enough that I can engage targets with my railguns.
A Stratios comes through and the team eagerly engages. Me too, sure but I am more concerned that he is surely bait and that a fleet follows him. My railguns hit with pathetic DPS and I edge even further out, trying to get transversal when I get yellowboxed and my shield goes away. Not sure what exactly hit me but the MWD likely increased my signature radius and I got a faceful of laser from somewhere. The next shot would kill me – I align and warp to the nearest celestial. The Stratios’ buddies had crossed the gate and were joining the fray but apparently too late. While I turn my boat around to warp back into the fight, whooping on TS indicates that our gang of frigates successfully downed 300mil + ship.
Things are heating up and FC orders everyone to warp to the sun, re-align to the gate and engage for a glorious and fiery death. Fine by me, so lets roll. With my range ship-fit, I don’t want to be on the gate but rather be 20km out but warping in, I of course land in my own bubbles. I get redboxed nearly instantly, scrammed and without MWD, range, logistics, I try to build up transversal at the 10km range – too close for me – and I seem to be living through a few salvos. FC lands on grid but I don’t hear targets called. My MWD of course is inoperable, I am in a bubble, don’t bother calling for shield and so I target the nearest hostile frigate and open fire. At least I go down fighting.
This marks the end of the fleet, I dont think anyone survived and the FC lost his Pod as well. I head back to High Sec, thank the FC, fleet, the logi, the scouts and I log off – its been a fun evening, I learned quite a bit and had a good time. That we got a single kill was already amazing, that I lived through nearly 2 encounters was a miracle,