I shot the Myrm, but I did not kill the Dominix

As my last remaining reader may recall, I live in WH space, staging with NOMEX out of a C2.  And while fleet fights are awesome fun with our solid FCs, occasionally I get “wanderlust”, drift away with my two characters and deliberately go down chains with EOL holes.  When the last known connection expired, when the bookmarks become stale and old, I really get the old feeling of being totally isolated and alone.  Whether I engage hostiles or not, whether I live or die, win or lose is now all up to me, no excuses, no regrets.

And so I drifted from Wormhole to Wormhole over the weekend with my Legion and my Stratios, sniffing around dozens of holes, checking out citadels for activity, keeping a mental log of how many anomalies or gas sites should be there but are not (indicating recent PVE), checking if the POCOs are allied with the citadel owners, checking the citadel owner’s killboard and so on.  Much has changed (for the worse) in WH intel since POSes are gone but I just try to get a feel for each hole I travel to and get a mental image of the people who live there.

I bumble into a C1 with a static Low Sec connection.  Its a very large system (which is good, so I can make excellent safe spots to log off in) and I tend to like C1s.  In general, they are inhabited by PvE guys who seek riches from PI, hacking, mining (the anomalies are nearly worthless) and of course as manufacturing base.  I look around and see an Astrahus and 2 (!) Athanors pulling in rocks.  All owned by a 7 man corp (i.e. 1 guy with 3 accounts and 2 Jita trade toons).  A single POCO is being reinforced, comes out in 24 hours or so.  I shall sleep here tonight.

The next day, I am working from home where I can put my character 1000 km off the Astrahus and watch for activity while I am on the phone or answer emails. Nothing happens really, but the timer on the POCO faithfully counts down. The CEO / main of my “host” logs in a few times, takes a Helios out and scans, checks out the POCO (yes, still there!).  A Gnosis warps around the system and I am getting clammy hands – I could take a Gnosis easily with my two characters, especially if he runs any one of the anomalies (for which I have tacticals, warp-in, warp-out etc…).  But the Gnosis re-docks and nothing happens.  Oh well, the wormhole deity “Bob” rewards patience and patient I am.

Kinda

Its evening now and I am on comms with my corpmates who “roll for content” and scream for pilots to log in. I am stuck in this C1 like a sad person without friends and watch an empty structure.  It wears my patience down.  The LS connection from here is terrible, somewhere off the map in Minmatar space and we have a Frigate hole which I watch attentively. Frigate holes never bring things I can catch my cruisers but can bring a lot of stuff that can hurt me.

Action!  Two guys undock from the citadel, a Myrmidon (still an amazing looking ship) and a Dominix.  Solid, hard-ass, well tanked drone platforms, about the worst that I could deal with.  They can be built in active tank to withstand any DPS I have.  I know this because I love both hulls, they are still my favorite ships in the game.  They warp off to another POCO and eject 10 Ogre II.

POCO Bashing

Well… So if this is how they bash POCOs, I am not sure I can do anything about that.  These are really hard nuts to crack each and I have two of them.  10 Ogres II can mess up my sunny day and while my Legion has decent tank, most Domis have Neuts in their high slots.

I decide to wait.  I can be here for days if I need to.  They have 2 (!) Athanors pulling rocks, one of the rocks is ~ 1-2 days from fracturing (I measure rock speed, I am that guy).  Bob’s Patience.

Other Real Life things happen and I am afk for a little.  When I get back the two targets are in the exact same spot which makes me think that they could be AFK.  Risk it?  Just drop on it?

I casually watch while doing work-stuff on the other screen when an Astero drops out of nowhere on-grid. He is not cloaked (idiot) and just sits there.  The pilot is not part of this corp but comes from a WH outfit.  He must have come from the Frigate hole.  So, my thinking goes, if my targets don’t react to this they could be AFK and I should risk it.  

Caution gets the better of me.  That and real life again.  10 minutes pass when I decide that its late and I need to log for the night. Bob is more pleased by a small kill with patience than a reckless banzai charge.

I turn my Legion around and initiate warp to my safe spot.  Its 50 or more AU away and I am mentally logged off when I see a flash on my overview, a Hound Stealth Bomber is on grid and I see the distinct icon of a bomb hurtling toward my target.  But I am in warp already!  Damn it!

I warp the 50 AU and yank on my reigns, turn the cruiser around and warp back.  It takes forever and when I finally land, nothing has changed. The Myrm and the Domi still peck away on the POCO, all Ogres are circling and no sight of bombs or bomber.  My targets were afk through a bomb attack?  They have to be afk.  They must be.

Oh for Bobs sake: !!!BANZAI!!!.  

Without thinking, I warp my Legion to zero onto the POCO, activate my tank and tackle the Myrm.  The “plan” (there really isn’t) is to burn down the Myrm, then the Domi as fast as I can.  I briefly think about killing the drones first but dismiss it because both boats have enormous drone bays and I would be on grid forever, giving the bomber boys a chance to get their stuff together and come with a swarm of angry frigates and destroyers.  No, this either goes fast or it doesn’t go at all.

While my Legion scrams, shoots, has drones out and a Neut (not going to be much good but whatever), I struggle with my Stratios.  I never really liked the boat, yes, its a jack-of-all-trades but it does everything worse than a Strategic Cruiser.  It has no tank, so it has to be stand-off, it has anemic DPS but its relatively quick.  So, I circle at 20km and send drones downrange,  I even have some lasers in the high adding measly DPS.  But there is so much that needs to be done manually that I am getting overwhelmed.

While I wrestle with the Stratios, something  scrams my Legion. I think its the Myrm and don’t pay attention, that guy is going down hard and fast.  I am now dipping into armor which is fine, the Myrm is breaking.  Its harder than it looks but the drones from the Stratios are now landing and his end is swift.  The Myrm blows up and the pod races off.  Now for the Domi.  Shit, he is scramming me.  Should I get away?  He is not neuting, I can try to burn him down. His tank is untested.  He may just have all DPS on a POCO basher for all I know.  I target and shoot. Damn, my Legion has Rapid Lights, great for ambush but terrible for prolonged fights.  I reload. It takes forever.  My armor is 1/2 which really means I should get out of here. The Stratios and my combined 10 medium drones finally crack into the Dominix.  D-scan clear, no sign of the frigate boys and their bombers.  Oh come on, clench your cheeks and hammer through this.  The Domi armor gives faster than my Legion.  Its now a race who can hold out longer.  I am losing the race.  My alarms screech.

I realize that I am losing the Legion if I stay on grid and align to somewhere.  My MWD is useless of course, I need to get out of his scram range before I can get away.  He target paints me now as well which helps his Ogres a little I think but that really makes me thing that he is not as harmless as I thought he was.  Damnit, I am not going to make it.  Hull alarm is sounding, I overheat whatever I can but it doesn’t matter.  My legion blows up in a fireball and I warp my pod away.  My Stratios stays on grid, he is way outside scram range and maybe, just maybe if I can keep shooting the Domi just dies?  Without holding it down myself, its unlikely but I’ll try.  Suddenly his Ogres are on top of me and within 1 salvo I am in 1/2 armor.  The painter shines on me now, this Domi is not going down, he is staying on grid and slugging it out.  I D-scan and see a “Hound” somewhere, not on grid but I know now that the frigate boys are finally inbound.  If I don’t pull away, I’ll lose the Strat to someone.

I disengage, offer GF in local and head my pod for the LS.  Only way to get him back to civilization, 20j through low sec.  I feel that at every gate, a bell rings and people shout “Shame” as I run the gauntlet.  To make my shame complete, I decide to convo my target and get ready for well-deserved insults, gloating, Drake-memes etc but none of that happens.  My target is a thoroughly nice chap, we chat about WH life, fits, the danger from the frigate holes etc. No asshattery at all and I don’t feel quite as terrible anymore when I make it to Jita, reload my loss mail and click “buy all”. Because, what killed me was not the fit, it was skill and situational awareness.  And thoroughly underestimating my target…

However, Bob is moderately pleased with my performance and may his blessing shine upon my next roaming venture….

 

And yes, I thought the title of this post was really clever.  Maybe not.  Good song tho!

 

 

Advertisements

Space Bushido. Its why I log in

EVE Online used to have two distinct reputations: a) its a spreadsheet game played by the hyper nerdy, basically those who are so socially inept that their D&D group threw them out and b) total and complete immoral bastards who plan for years how to stab their best friend in the back.  Like all stereotypes, these are vastly exaggerated but have a kernel of truth: EVE is complicated and driven by numbers and mechanic lets you be a total asshat as long as you can deal with the in-game consequences.  The same mechanic that lets you be a dick also lets you (and the group you fly in) actively reject being dicks.  There are pragmatic reasons behind not being a dick, especially in smaller wormhole outfits.  By nature of the wormhole mechanic, we run into each other all the time and getting a bad reputation is a recipe for an eviction.  On the other hand, being true to one’s word allows rapid, temporary coalitions to form to help in a defense situation or when fun demands it.

The video that my corp-mate Seraphessael recently posted shows off the bizarre nerdiness that EVE is and the honor code that our small world lives by. See, in the video,  Seraphessael chose to show the entire engagement, not just the juicy combat parts. That’s a little unusual but I personally love it, it really shows so much more how a team functions than just the choice parts where missiles are in the air (well, vacuum, whatever).

So, first, full disclosure.  I came into this really late, I had had the audacity to eat dinner while the corporation had been “rolling for content”  and I only logged in when the ping went out.

In wormhole space, you push enough heavy ships through a wormhole, it eventually dies and a new one spawns soon after.  The mass-calculation, the fleet coordination, the fits of the various “rollers” are finely tuned and a good corporation can crush a hole within a few minutes, scan down the new one and have scouts in there to search for targets.  Its entirely routine and in Seraphessael’s video, the first 2:14 minutes show the team in rolling action, coms are relaxed and people goof around.  However, when the scout finds a mining fleet with their pants down, the tone and content changes dramatically.  I love this inflection point because in good corporations, within seconds a PvP fleet forms, pings are sent and everyone gets down to business. Unlike Nullsec, its not always organized, there are no real FC’s but the roles are flexible.  Much, much hangs on the scout – whoever it is at this time.  A second experienced person quarterbacks the fight relying on the word of his scout and the competency of his team to execute.  In the video, shooting starts at 4:48, basically 2:30 minutes after the target was first seen.

The fight itself was short and brutal, it could have ended either way since nobody (not our target, not us) had any idea what they were really up against.  We won – this time – but next time we may be the victim.  In this light, notice the call not to loot the field, keep the very expensive mining drones on-field and basically not be dicks.  We had what we wanted (kills), now was the time to display our honor code.

Of course, we could have spammed /local with taunts.  Instead we typed “gf” and nothing else.  We could have looted everything denying our target valuable assets.  Instead we chose to leave the field unlooted.  We could have podded everyone, laughed about them on /r/eve, sent meme-gifs and basically be dicks.  Instead, we chose not to any of these things because it goes against our “bushido” and dishonor would have been worse than defeat.

And here the video:

Get the pod, get the pod

+++ Special Announcement: EVE Meetup Northern VA.+++

RL has not been nice to me – busy and stressful.  EVE is pretty much the first thing that goes over board when it comes to prioritizing my life (after personal hygiene, paying mortgage and other really non-essential tasks, of course).  I had not logged in all week until Friday came and with it the realization that the week was over, I am still breathing and my friends are shooting pixelly ships, something I am bad in but I like doing.

Continue reading

Anatomy of a Whoopin

Our little C2 WH academy currently has a house guest, a gentleman with a short army of alts, an impressive killboard record and the patience and skill to make pretty much all operation hazardous at best, suicidal at worst. His strategy is to hang out in an active wormhole – of which there are very few and ours is one of them – and basically camp it until he is bored, the locals shut down operations or some token ransom is paid.

Continue reading

A double ganked Proteus

I know, I know, I promised a hiatus from playing and blogging but here it is, yet another story of our little Wormhole Academy having fun with our neighbors.  Now I have to say that we are not a real PvP outfit, with screaming FCs, primary-ing fleet members who are in non-authorized fits and CTAs that last for days.  We are pretty casual about it and tap shamelessly into the experience of our recruits.  We also have several relatively new players who came from nullsec corps and are vastly better in FC-ing than our instructors.  Great!  I shut up, and you tell me what to do.

Continue reading