Archive for Combat

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.

 

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Cyno killer Qu’est-ce que c’est

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , , , on July 23, 2012 by Baa

“Cynosaural fields detected. Prepare to Jump”

The jump gate activated and we appeared in the target system. Two cyno beacons appeared on the local scan. Almost instantly warp drive was engaged to get to the fields before they could be used.

“Ships on scan; Magnate, Rifter, Talos class”

“Concentrate on the Magnate and the Rifter. Ignore the Talos”

Dropping out of warp the two frigates were lying next to the active cyno beacons and we started to lock them. With the Talos present it was going to be interesting…

The guerilla warfare is still in progress, popping cyno frigates in transit or before the field can be used. The opposition have got wise to the disruption tactics though and have changed tack. Instead of a single cyno they are lighting two or three, in a couple of different locations in system. They are also starting to guard the ships running the beacon. Initially this was fail defence. There’s no point in undocking a Talos, or an Oracle, or an artillery fit Hurricane, to protect your cyno ship against an interceptor or interdictor. The cyno frigate is going to have popped by the time the battlecruisers have got a lock and the traversal is going to make putting any sort of damage on the small fast ship next to impossible. I have switched from an interceptor to a destroyer, or interdictor though, to reduce the number of shots I need to kill the frigate before warping out.

The last attempt yesterday was different. Again there were two cyno fields, but instead of the battlecruiser a Proteus and Stabber, were undocked. It still didn’t stop me getting the kill, but looting was out of the question, and I did take damage, mostly from drones. I think it’s about time I switch tactics slightly, something that can deliver a lot of damage from range. I have just the ship in my hanger.

Guerilla Warfare

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by Baa

We entered the hostile system and immediately launched a directional scan looking for other ships.

“Probe on scan. Possibly at the station.”

“Let’s get to the station. Engage warp.”

As entered warp an alarm tripped.

“Cyno field active. Its in the direction of the station.”

“Prepare for combat as soon as we exit warp.”

The game was afoot. Something would be jumping to the cyno beacon. It was our job to destroy it before it could happen.

If anyone has been looking at my recent kills you’ll see that this is pretty indicative of the success I’ve been having lately. On the face of it they’re pretty cheap kills. The victim can’t get away. I justify it based on the guerilla warfare that we are currently fighting and my self appointed role of disrupting the enemy supply lines.

The kills are easy, three volleys and down they go. The aim of course is to get the cyno down before its used. Not always possible, but a worthwhile aim. Once you’ve popped one cyno ship it starts to get a little more difficult. The next one has an escort, usually an autocannon armed hurricane or similar. Still, if they are willing to escort it, they must really want to move something. The task then is a bit harder; warp in, kill the cyno, burn or warp away without dying. It only gets problematic if they start undocking interdictors.

My current weapon of choice for this is a rail-fitted Taranis. It allows me to do a decent amount of DPS whilst aligning out so that once the ship has popped I can either engage the MWD or warp out.

The purpose of this is to interrupt enemy logistics and force them to have to bring people to deal with the threat I, and my corp mates, pose. Getting killed is a possibility, but something to be avoided if possible. It’s no good getting an extra kill if it means losing a ship and thus having to re-ship. It would give them time to get their ships moved.

The result is smack talk in local. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been called names in the past few weeks. The insults vary; I’m not a real PVPer, I’m a coward who runs away, etc. These pseudo tears are good. They show that I’m having the effect I want. PVP in EVE is not just about destroying ships. That’s only a small part of it.

Honour within EVE

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , on July 2, 2012 by Baa

The Crow broke its orbit and started burning away, the gassing from the holes in its hull making steering a little difficult. Too late we noticed and adjusted our own course. It escaped our warp disruption field and fled the field heading for the next gate.

“Good fight” came the message over the wide-band local channel.

“Good fight”, we responded, “Catch you next time.”

The ship then disappeared from system.

This was a typical solo encounter. I’d seen the Crow on D-scan as I arrived at the gate. It had to be following me so I jumped through, burned back to the gate in my Taranis, and waited.

The gate flashed indicating a new ship jumping through. I primed the warp disruptor ready to capture whatever decloaked. It was the Crow, 16km away. I didn’t want to get too close so settled into a 20k orbit, training my railguns on the rival interceptor and released my drones.

Its light missiles started eating away at my shields quicker than I was damaging his. No real worries though at it had more shield in the first place. The drones started to hit home and his shield lowered quicker. Mine where gone, the missile hits stripping armour. Then his shields dropped. The drones and rails soon removed his armour and started to eat into hull. At this point I missed a trick, I shouldn’t have worried that another pilot had jumped into system and instead closed to prevent him burning off. Like I say, I missed the trick because he was outside disruptor range at the start of the next cycle and warped off to the next gate.

I could have chased him to the next gate and tried to catch him on the other side. It might have got me the kill. I chose not to preferring to swap “good fights” in local. The combat had been close to start with and fun. The risk in following too great considering the damage I had suffered, even more so given that I’d be delayed recalling my drones.

All in all it seemed a fitting end to the duel. We’d both engaged in a 1v1 battle to see who would prevail. Given that I’d got him into hull and had around 60% armour left myself had proved the point. I was the honourable victor.

Next time I’ll close to short range once I’d got rid of the shields. Next time there will be no escape.

Wardecs (or how we all stopped worrying and learned to love the pew-pew)

Posted in Gameplay with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by Baa

There has been a lot of discussion on EVE-O forums, blogs, and elsewhere about the Inferno wardec system. The thrust of it appears to be that it has had unexpected consequences so now CCP are going to nerf it and forget it for another few years. This is a shame.

The fact that the impact of declaring a war as mutual was unexpected points to a real lack of understanding and testing within CCP. They really should be taking more care and attention over such fundamental changes. This leads me to believe that this wasn’t unexpected, what was unexpected was the reaction by the CSM. Following the WiS and Aurum PR disaster from earlier in the year, and the massive climb-down from CCP, they’ve felt that they couldn’t afford not to listen to the CSM on this measure so rather than toughing it out and see if an in-game solution could be found, they’ve decided to make a knee-jerk change.

I don’t think that the current mechanic is too far out. It needs tweaking rather than gutting. The proposed changes go too far in that they make multiple changes at once. We’ve already seen that CCP are getting adept at rolling changes since Inferno was released. How about coming up with a number of possible solutions to the perceived problem and applying them one at a time?

Here’s what I’d like to see, to make things less fair:

  • Allies should be able to come to the aid of each side in a conflict. These should be managed by an treaty that could be cancelled by either side with 24 hours notice.
  • Ally cost should be based on ally size. CONCORD are keeping track of who can shoot who, this can reasonably be based on number of pilots and logically fit in a sandbox.
  • Logistics corporations blue to any of the combatants should be valid targets. Mutual blue standings should be enough for a corp to become a target.

Now these could all lead to a forever war throughout New Eden, with the exception of the NPC corps. It’s a risk. EVE is a sandbox, let us rattle it for a bit. Things will settle down once people get used to it.

Anyway onto the lolz. The irony of the Goon complaining about a game mechanic warms the cockles of my heart. I’ve come across one of these mercenary corps (Noir) when they were hired to grief us in our pocket. They were pretty useless against any sort of organised opposition. Surely they should be welcoming the chance to justify the fees they charge?

It’s interesting that the CSM is so much in favour of the changes. I think this shows how unbalanced the CSM is (in terms of representing the player base not in any mental sense). There should be a more even split of players from the different constituencies within New Eden. Its far too easy for the null-sec power blocs to get their people elected.

The real worry I have is that after the release of Inferno 1.1 war decs will go back to the same as they were before and the opportunity to extend the sandbox element will have gone.

Wabbit Season

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by Baa

The scanner showed a Gallente industrial within 4 AU. Narrowing down the scan field located it near the second planet in the system.

“Warp to the customs post at planet 2”

The engines roared into life and propelled the interceptor through the void at breakneck speed. The industrial remained firmly on scan directly ahead.

As the warp engines disengaged the industrial could been seen next to the customs office. The bay doors were just beginning to close and the thrusters changing the alignment. The captain of the ship must have been looking at his own scanners.

“Get that industrial stopped”

The warp disruptor flicked into life and killed the industrial’s engines before they had a chance to get going.

“Greetings. What are you prepared to pay in order to keep your cargo? Oh, and your ship.”

It’s currently getting near that time of the year when EVE winds down a little. The colleges kick out for the summer and there is a drop in the number of active players. A consequence of this is a drop in the full scale conflicts. This leads to more bit part roams and the hunting of otherwise unworthy targets.

Since I’ve been back I’ve taken part in a few fleet fights, though most have ended before they have begun due to the issues above, but for the most part I’ve been looking around for targets of opportunity, or wabbits as I like to call them. Its not particularly difficult stuff to kill, lone frigates, cyno ships, the odd larger ship not paying enough attention to D-scan. It does help me get back into things though and improve my use of D-scan.

As with all hunting trips its the tales of the ones that got away that dominate. The hulk that was into structure when the rescue fleet arrived. The cloaky hauler that made it to the gate before destruction. Things would look better if a few more of those had gone pop, but nothing is wasted, it’s all more experience.

At the moment I’m hanging around in a small pocket held by the Sons Of New EVE. I’m not sure that they are overly happy about it as they keep chasing me about the systems. So far I’ve managed to evade them, time will tell who will come out on top.

The Blob

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , , on September 16, 2011 by Baa

There is a lot written, on blogs, forums, and in chat windows, about the blob and blob warfare. I’m not quite sure what a blob is. At best its an indeterminate number of ships whose only defining attribute is that its larger than the opposing fleet. So if you have solo ratters in a system that 10-15 ship roam is a blob. If the same roam comes across a 30-40 ship defence fleet, then the defence fleet view them as the blob. If the roam turns out to be the forward party of a 100 man fleet then… well you get the idea.

After taking part in a few larger fleets in the past few weeks I’d like to offer a different definition. If your fleet can kill the primary target before all of the ships in the fleet can lock it, you are in a blob. Last night was a prime example of this…

A Goon fleet jumped into our staging system and provoked a response. The Goon had a decent number of ships, we had slightly more. The FC jockeyed for position, trying to get the other fleet at optimal range. The composition of both fleets was similar, shield BC with logi support. I jumped into a Rook, I know T2 shiny ship and all that, and warped on top of our logis.

The enemy fleet was at close range to our main fleet, 50km+ to me, and the FC started calling targets. As each target was broadcast it was a race to lock it before it became the primary and get a shot off. The DPS coming out of our fleet, combined with the jamming of their logi, meant that the enemy BCs were going down after only a couple of shots at most. Any slight lag and you might miss firing altogether. The carnage continued until the enemy was outnumbered enough so that our fleet could be considered a blob using the normal understanding of the term.

The thing here is that the fighting devolved into basically lock, shoot, lock, shoot. Was this fun? There was a certain amount of satisfaction in driving off the intruding fleet. The tension really was mostly on whether you were going to be targetted and whether you’d be able to lock and engage the primary target before it was destroyed. I guess there was some tension around whether we’d win, but given that the majority of the fleet was aligned out if things started going wrong we could always warp off. So, fun? Yes, a little, but not as much fun as a smaller fleet battle where individual actions can sway the day. Maybe, large fleet battles just aren’t for me.