Archive for September, 2012

Recon Bait, Best Bait

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , on September 17, 2012 by Baa

“Drop the cloak”

The Arazu shimmered into visibility 310km from the hostile POS.

“Keep non-essential systems offline.”

We sat motionless in space looking for a reaction from the ships in the POS.

Nothing …

“Legion is accelerating”

“Hold still”

One of the ships warped from the POS to a spot 150km away. The other ships warped to it and began to burn towards us.

“Wait for them to engage.”

The distance was rapidly closed by the enemy Cynabal. Alarms rang out as a warp disruptor was enaged.

“Enemy has engaged. Bring up the active systems and let’s do our job.”

The warp disruptors lept into action and shutdown the systems on three enemy cruisers as damage started to rain down.

“They are engaged. Come and get them!”

I’d logged on to check a few things but noticed a bunch of people in a fleet channel on comms and a fleet up. Checking I hopped into my trusty Arazu and met up with the fleet two jumps away. We were sitting on a wormhole entrance whilst a couple of recons tried to catch someone.

Our Arazu pilot in the wormhole had to leave so I replaced him monitoring the POS. Sitting the POS were a number of strategic and faction cruisers and a couple of armour logistics ships. I checked my overview and could see three of them moving, apparently orbiting the tower.

Time passed. We chatted in comms. Nothing was happening in the tower.

“How about uncloaking the Arazu and seeing what happens?”, came one of the comments.

“Not a bad idea. Move the Arazu out beyond 300k and we’ll set something up”.

I was 150k from the tower so a warp out and back to my spot a couple of times would do it. I picked a handy celestial and was soon on station.

“I’m 310km from the tower”

“Ok. Hold there and stop, lets get the Rapier close and then uncloak.”. The Rapier was the other recon that we had in the wormhole.

“Rapier in position.”

I waited until my speed dropped to 0.0 and then uncloaked. The only module running was a damage control as it has no external effects.

I continued to monitor the speeds on the ships in the POS. Another one started moving, a Legion. It seemed to be circling the POS though. Still no movement towards me. We waited …

The Legion picked up speed and warped to a spot 150k away. A Cynabal, Loki, and Proteus warped out to it. On landing they started towards me.

“They’ve warped to a load-up and are burning towards me. Standby.”

The Cynabal was closing down at a rate of not, far outstripping the T3s. I counted out the range as it approached.

“30k”

“Oneiros, jump through the wormhole and align. Get ready to warp”. The FC gave instructions to other members of our fleet. The Cynabal locked me, but didn’t engage. My fingers hovered over the mouse, ready to activate modules, but left them untouched.

The Cynabal engaged. First the warp disruptor, then the hail of autocannon fire slamming into my shields.

“Cynabal engaged. Shields dropping.”

I fired up my modules, and swept into an orbit to reduce the incoming damage.

“Point on the Cynabal, Legion, and Proteus”.

I launched my ECM drones and set them on the Cynabal. With luck I’d get a few jamming cycles.

“Give me a countdown when you are in armour”.

The Rapier had uncloaked and pointed the Loki and was webbing the others to give us a better survival chance.

My shields disappeared and my armour was going down steadily, though slower than I’d thought it would. Tougher than it looks the Arazu.

“Into armour, 80% left”.

“Oneiros warp and rep the Arazu. Everyone else jump and warp in”

The Legion now had an energy neutralizer on me. At this point I missed a trick, I was concentrating so much on keeping points and distance that I forgot to activate the capacitor booster so briefly ran out of cap.

“Armour at 20%”

“Rep the Arazu now”

Just as my hull started to take damage the first Oneiros landed on grid and started to repair my armour. It has been close, only 43% of structure left, but it looked as though I’d survive now.

The rest of the fleet arrive and worked their way through the pointed cruisers. It was at this point that I noticed that the loss of cap had caused me to lose point on the Legion and it warped off. The others didn’t last long once our fleet had arrived, they were heavily outmatched as we’d earlier seen a Moros in the wormhole and had assembled a fleet for that.

It had been closer than I’d thought, the thing that had saved me was our Legion switching on its gang module and boosting my armour. It gave me an extra volley worth that allowed our logistics to keep me alive.

Despite the Legion escaping back to the POS it had been a successful operation. The wormhole dwellers couldn’t resist an apparently afk Arazu 300k off their shields. It did take around 5 minutes for them to bite, but greed got the better of judgement. In total they lost a Cynabal, a Loki, and a Proteus, as well as a pod¬†and we suffered no losses.

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Picket Duty

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , , , on September 12, 2012 by Baa

“Gate fire”, the message was automatically relayed to the fleet commander elsewhere in the system.

“Wait to see them”, came the reply.

“Loki. Proceeding to engage”

“Affirmative. All ships converge on the gate”.

As my Taranis engaged the Loki I waited to see what it was going to do. Would it burn back to the gate and jump through, in which case my soon to arrive fleet mates could follow, or would it engage on this side.

Drones out. It was engaging.

“Loki has aggressed”.

I settled into an orbit and tried to stay alive long enough for the fleet to arrive. The Loki was autocannon fitted and they were making a mess of me. I had to decide what to do. Tighten the orbit to increase traversal, or get further away to increase the range. The Loki had me pointed and webbed so getting close won out. I pulsed the MWD to try and throw the drones.

Where were my fleet mates? Armour was bleeding away and I was beginning to take hull damage. There were over 10 in fleet and so far no one else on the field. Just as my hull collapsed another interceptor and a couple of battlecruisers arrived. Maybe the loss would be worth it.

I warped my pod safe and saw the fleet engage. Then the gate flashed again and three more tech 3 cruisers jumped in to help the Loki. This wasn’t looking good. One by one our ships were lost. All in all a disaster.

The above is a fairly typical description of a pick-up fleet system camp without a recognised FC. You can’t really rely on getting help so engaging is at your own risk. I wasn’t overly bothered about my loss, its comparatively low-cost and expected. I could afford to lose it and, within minutes, was back in its twin. There are obvious lessons from the encounter though:

  • If a Loki engages on a gate in a system full of reds (to him) he’s probably got friends.
  • The second tackle arriving should jump the gate and see what is on the other side.
  • Make sure you know the fleet composition before aggressing. My excuse was that I was tired. However the big shiny Loki sucked me in.
  • Have an FC. Even if its a informal fleet you still need someone to call the shots.
  • Disengage when help doesn’t arrive. This probably wouldn’t have helped given the Loki web, but its worth bearing in mind.

There were some tears over the battle cruiser losses and we tried to catch the T3 fleet as it withdrew but, by the time we’d assembled a credible threat, they were long gone.

A little later I was doing the same thing. Sitting alone on a gate waiting to see what came through. A Caldari Navy Hookbill jumped in, I tried to lock it but it aligned and warped about half a second before I could lock it. I warped in pursuit and landed in a bubble a little way from it.

He was burning away from the bubble towards the gate but not fast enough to escape my lock this time. My warp disruptor engaged and I deployed drones and settled into an orbit with a web on him for good luck. As I was the only other ship around he engaged. I overloaded the guns as we began the dance of death. My shields were depleting quicker than mine but I stuck at it. It would be a question of relative tank.

By the time his shields were gone I’d almost lost all of my armour. I was still confident as the Taranis’ tank is its hull. Sure enough each volley from my guns and drones took huge chunks out of his armour and then hull. I was only 15% into structure when the Hookbill died. I quickly locked the pod and spared him a long slow ride home.

So one loss and two kills, both of which were worth more than my loss. All in all a decent hour of play.