2014/02/24

Amarr Victor - my first four weeks in the warzone

Warning - this is a rather long post. The TL;DR version would be something like: I immensely enjoy being back in lowsec, faction warfare spiced up with some acts of piracy is exactly what I want from Eve right now.

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After about four weeks ago - or has it been even longer - I have relocated most if not all of my assets into known space. I had only spent a few days on evaluating possible lowsec corporations before I joined up with the guys from S-B-A ... I was a bit torn between joining a pure pirate gang and becoming a member of the (Amarrian) militia, but in the end my curiosity regarding faction warfare took priority over any concerns that being blue to a sizable part of the warzone population would result in fewer targets to shoot at.

Due to my success in station trading, I had a little bit of ISK available to me to go on a shopping spree in Jita. After spending about 2.5 billion, this is the current state of my home base right next to Kamela. I am still missing a some experimental ships that I would like to toy with such as an arty Cynabel, a dual-rep Deimos and a few rail Harpies, but generally speaking I am happy with what I have at my disposal.


During the last weeks, I had ample opportunity to get to know my new home turf. I have roamed the warzone alone and with others, with anything from T1 frigs to T3 cruisers, with corp mates, militia folks and pirates living next door. I have fought solo war targets, pirate gangs and unsuspecting ratters. I have managed to get a glimpse at the complex web of relationships between the different parts of both militias, the pirate corporations sharing this part of space with us and the regular visitors from both high and null sec. And I have had my first engagement against a capital ship.

In short : I have experienced enough to give you some small insight into what can be expected from faction warfare. And this is just that ... a recollection of a few selected battle, encounters and moments in the Amarr-Minmatar warzone.


The first week - getting to know the playing field

The very first thing I did after my initial batch of ships had been delivered by Black Frog was to take out my Omen Navy Issue for a spin. I simply love that ship ... it is hands down one of the best kiting cruisers out there when you want to stay below 100m ISK. For an even small budget, a shield-tanked Thorax with railguns does an adequate job imitating it.


After undocking, I made my way into Sosala, into Anka, into Tannakan. Nothing out there, local was empty all the time. Nothing unusual for 1400 Eve time, but I had hoped to find at least one war target, pirate or ratter/miner/mission runner before finishing my trip. I decided not to take the long way around but instead to head towards Sosan and loop back towards Kamela by way of Huola and Kourmonen. At the very least I expected to see some activity  in Huola, it being the staging system for a majority of the Minmatar militia.

Before actually getting there I came across some activity in Sosan. A Thorax and an Enyo showed up on the direction scanner, and from what little information I could gather by following their movements with it, it seemed that the Enyo was hunting the Thorax. Each time the Thorax appeared at a belt, the Enyo was there shortly after it.

The names of the pilots in local meant nothing to me. One was flashy, the others weren't.. Another bit of information supporting the idea of a pirate hunting a ratter. I tried to catch the Thorax at a belt only to watch it warp of the second I landed. Repeat once, repeat twice, always one step behind. But at least now I had actually been on grid with my prey and had been able to match a player to the ship. It was actually the flashy pilot in the Thorax. Which was both good and bad .. good because I now knew I could engage him on a gate or at a station as well, bad because it now looked more like a trap than anything else. I couldn't say precisely why, I  just had this feeling that something was wrong about the whole situation.

He bounced from belt to belt and finally came to a halt at a station. I warped there myself at 100km to see if he could be made to burn out towards me away from both the safety and the threat posed by the docking ring.

When I landed, the Enyo was there as well, sitting right next to him. Not shooting. I waited, and after a few moments the Thorax started to burn towards me. 2km/sec, possibly a shield fit. I briefly looked at his guns - rails. Well, here it was, the previously mentioned railgun Thorax. On 20km or closer this would actually be able to put out more damage than I was, so the game plan was to keep him at maximum point range to fully use the potential of my scorch-powered heavy pulse lasers.



As it turned out, they were just waiting for me. The moment I had entered point range of the Thorax, the Enyo overheated its MWD and tried to get close. A Vexor undocked and turned into the direction of the fight as well. Confident in my ability to escape the long point of the Thorax, I stayed long enough to see if maybe I could manage to kill the Thorax before his friends would be able to help him. Sadly, his buffer tank was able to withstand me long enough, and not wanting to take my chances against all three of them I warped off.

A few jumps later, I arrived in Huola. While there were rather a lot war targets in system, nobody seemed to be out in space to play. All plexes were empty and I was about to leave system when a lonely Hurricane was detected by my d-scan. Warping to a safe spot next to the sun, I started to check the most probable locations: gates, stations, plexes and belts. I quickly found him outside a small plex and warped to the plex at 30 while considering my options. An arty-fitted Hurricane would be able to outdamage me inside point range while a autocannon fit shouldn't be much of a threat. And even a nano-fit would not be able to dictate range, so if necessary I could always disengage and flee.


After initiating the fight by closing to overheated point range, it quickly became obvious that his autocannon-fitted Cane wasn't able to touch me. I even got a bit cocky and tried out how close I could go before the incoming damage would actually threaten to overwhelm my tank. As it turned out, anything farther away than 16km was easily tankable - an important piece of information to have for future encounters.

Feeling good about myself, I went home after the fight.

The second week - a carrier on fire

I had just logged on and joined comms when I was told by a corpmate to get into something heavy and make my way into Kourmonen as quickly as humanly possible. Some people had caught a single carrier at a gate and were asking a resident pirate group with whom my new corp mates has friendly relations for help. They formed up with T3s and logistics to answer the call, and within minutes I was sitting in my AHAC Legion, in warp to my first encounter with a capital ship.

Local peaked at over 200 people, and the node supporting Kourm and the surrounding systems was apparently not able to support this kind of load. TiDi averaged around 50%, and while we started to apply our damage to the trapped capital we were anxiously waiting for enemy reinforcements to arrive. They did not, and the carrier went down.


Our FC tried to get us into a favorable position to engage the outlaw fleets that had joined the fray a few minutes after the carrier kill, but without any real success. When a much bigger battleship fleet of the Minmatar militia was spotted on their way to the battlefield, we disengaged and went home, happy with what we had achieved.



Leaving the fleet and changing back to militia comms, we decided that it was still early enough to head out again, this time with smaller ships, aimed at fighting some war targets or random lowsec travelers. Fast tackle was slightly underrepresented in our impromptu gathering of ships (read: we had none), so I hopped into one of my fleet 'ceptors and headed towards the highsec gate in Bosboger, our first stop.

What followed was a seemingly endless stream of incoming ships. Initially just travelers and individual militia pilots coming through the gate, then more and more organized gangs of people trying to chase us away. Point primary, call for dps, wait for secondary point to be called. Reapply point, check range. Tracking disrupter still on the biggest threat? Check range again, don't get caught. Gate flash, local spike, more Minnies incoming ...... no darling, I can't tell you when this will be over, don't interrupt me now, I have internet pixels to shoot at. ADRENALIN :)

We fought, we killed and sometimes we fled .. only to be back a minute later to catch stragglers or to engage a larger fleet from a more beneficial position. Bos, Gulm, Lulm, 'Make ... somewhere there was always another target coming in, always more to shoot at. Did I mention the adrenalin?





Looking at the killboard entries, all of this lasted for about 1.5 hours. When we finally headed home, I realized that I had just had more pvp in one evening than I had in w-space within an entire month. Imagine that.

The third week - yes, it is probably a trap, but who cares

After realizing how much fun it was flying the Omen Navy Issue on my solo roams through the warzone, I wanted to check out other kiting platforms. The Thorax, the Stabber, the Caracal. I bought a few of each of those, had them shipped to Kamela and jumped into a shield-tanked AC Stabber as soon as I had it fitted.


Since Bosboger had been so much fun the last time I had been there and considering it had been one of my staging posts during my time with the Black Rebel Rifter Club, I felt comfortable heading out there again. Local was full of war targets and void of anything even remotely friendly, and checking d-scan showed a Talwar and an Executioner at a medium plex at the far side of the solar system.

Confident that my shield buffer would allow me to survive a brawl against both ships while I focused my dps on the Talwar, I activated the gate, overheated my guns and engaged. As expected, the Talwar died before they were able to do much to my shields.


The frigate fled, and after exchanging a few friendly words in local I warped of to a safe spot near the plex, hoping they would reship for more pew-pew. Only a minute later a lonely Tornado attack battlecruiser appeared on scan, again located at the medium plex. This had to be trap, but since there was nothing else visible on the 360 scan there was a small chance that my little ship could be able to get under his guns and brawl him down before his friends would arrive.

No guts, no glory. Warp drive active, everything overheated, let's just hope he is actually sitting at the plex at zero. If not, I should have enough time to warp out again before he can blap me from his perch.

As expected, he had friends. Two, three, four ... I don't really remember. But also as expected, I was indeed able to get under his guns and bring him down before they caught up with me. Op success, Tornado down. Stabber too, but my plan worked and I came out ahead ISK-wise.


The fourth week - catching a Cynabal

Hunting war targets with small gangs of fleet 'ceptors and kiting destroyers was a regular thing for my new corp and alliance mates, and so I found myself again sitting in one of my Crows, this time in a fleet about six or seven people strong. We had found and killed the odd frigate, destroyer or cruiser during the first 30 minutes of our roam, but nothing to write home about.

I had become comfortable in my role as the forward scout, always flying +1 or +2 ahead of our fleet, checking local, d-scan and overview for potential targets. Jumping into Arzad I was initially disappointed .. local was almost deserted, no war targets and only two neutrals. Strike that, two pirates. And a lonely Cynabel on scan, apparently sitting either inside or outside the medium plex about 5.5 AU away from the gate.

Already in warp to the plex, I informed our fleet about what I had found. Comms fell silent, and the anticipated rush of adrenalin sent my heartbeat into overdrive. I landed. He was here, 20km away from me, drones out and already locking me up. But then again so did I. After activating my point and my TD I manually directed my ship into an orbit of approx. 30km and waited for my fleet to arrive. His first two volleys were able to hit me (quite hard), but soon the only thing he could do was to observe his guns in their futile attempt to track me.



In case I haven't mentioned it: I love my little Interceptor :)

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So this is it. A few impressions of my first four weeks in faction warfare. One of the most exciting times I had in Eve so far, and as far as I have been told by corp mates this is what I can expect from the future as well. Good times ahead.

Cheers,

V

3 comments:

  1. Quality read, Val. Glad to see you've found your way back to lowsec.

    Keep them coming!

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  2. Great stuff! Cool pics too I stared at your ship hangar a while :D Such a great feeling being the hero scout and staying alive to keep point on something like that cynabal

    -Brink

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  3. Great read! Keep up the great work, and feel free to swing through Essence should you decide to :)

    ReplyDelete