Saturday, June 25, 2016

The best PI ship for the job

It's nice to get visitors in the wormhole I happen to stalk. This time a Megathron jumps in through the high-sec and warps to an ore site. I immediately follow. I don't even make a perch, because ore sites have just few sleepers and I might miss my opportunity. I manage to land 20km off the target and just after the battleship fires few shots it gets surrounded by the Nestor fleet.

Like a pack of vultures, biting chunks of the Megathron's armor, piece by piece until there's nothing left and it explodes.

What an interesting fit. Tank on this ship is almost non-existant. Dual web, blaster fit with no propulsion mod and too many damage mods in lows. I honestly have no idea what this ship is supposed to do. Clearing sleepers from the ore site is just about the sole thing I can think of.

There's a saying that you don't look to the teeth of a gift horse and so I do not care what modules my prey has fitted. Every kill is a gift from Bob that I will happily take. Target's are like lightnings. It's very rare for one to hit the same place twice. I decide to scout the surrounding systems for more activity.

Few jumps out, I am just in time to find a Tengu starting up it's farming activities. I love being at the right place at the right time. I tackle the strategic cruiser and kill it in a short manner.

A nice kill. Could be nicer though. I miss the days when everyone would pimp their Tengus with a shiny loot. A billion worth of kill was the standard, but now, I am lucky to find one over 500mil.

Speaking of the right place and the right time, sometimes you can truly experience such a moment. It was a usual day with me orbiting a random c3 with a high-sec static. I hear an activation sound and put my focus on EVE client. I was expecting some random Stratios or a scanning frigate, but to my surprise, a holy grail of ships jumps in. An Orca!

There she is. A beautiful whale just came through. What an opportunity! There was only one problem - I was way too far out to do anything. The industrial command ship was 40km off and picking up speed. In disbelief, that such a target would appear on my overview, I watch it warp away to the tower in the system. I find the ship sitting safely at the pos. There's also a Hyperion with signs of activity.

Perhaps Hyperion will do some farming. A battleship kill is always nice. I try not to get too upset about the Orca. It was out of my control. You never know who will jump in and I usually keep safe distance when afk orbiting wormholes. The plan now was to wait for the Hyperion to do something or, if by any chance, that Orca will do another high-sec run, I can try my luck in grabbing it on the way back. The battleship doesn't go anywhere, but the Orca starts picking up speed. Camera zooms out so I know it's in warp. I pay close attention to where it will go. I am positive it will be a high-sec wormhole and already start thinking on how to get it. Here it goes, it is warping off! But wait a minute. It's not the direction of the high-sec wormhole. He warps to a.... planet.

An Orca warps to a planet. Is this reality or am I dreaming? What could be the reason for it to warp to a planet? Could be it warped to a moon to drop a tower? Or could it have warped to a customs office? No, that can't be right. Must be a moon. I decide to warp to a customs office anyway. Idea is to land on the planet and d-scan the moon that Orca might be at. But against all odds, I have the Orca appear on the overview and it lands directly on the customs office. I still can't believe this is a real deal. My mind is playing tricks on me. This must be a bait. Whatever it is, I go for it.

Soon I was all over it. Slowly destroying hull and waiting for that glorious explosion to happen while simultaneously checking d-scan like a mad man. Until the very last moment, I expect to see a bunch of ships appear and kill my poor fleet. But d-scan stays clear and the Orca explodes.

Behold, another successful whale hunt. I quickly check for any loot to scoop and warp back to high-sec, satisfied, with such a nice gift from Bob. Some really unexpected things can always happen in w-space.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It's a coin toss

Wormholes are great. I love wormholes and their environment: no local, stealthy, isolated, no local. Did I mention no local? But time to time I will get an active connection to the empire. I ignore null-sec, because my fleet is not made for traveling through bubbles, but I do enjoy visiting low-sec. With mwd+cloak I can travel relatively safely. And while low-sec usually is inhabited by a cut-throat crowd, I feel more comfortable there than in null. May have something to do with my early EVE career as a pirate.

While visiting class 3 wormholes, I will often end up in random low-sec systems. This time I visit Derelik and first scan returns a Tengu with wrecks.

He is not at any of the anomalies or signatures so must be at a mission. I warp around the system to check out for any other ships. I don't feel very motivated to put too much effort in scanning and getting that Tengu. Local is mostly the same corp and they look rather aggressive judging by the killboard. There's no reason for me to stay here too long, but I decide to fuck around a little and combat scan the strategic cruiser. The Tengu warps out, but I do manage to get his position.

I don't rush to leave and instead, stalk the system for a little while longer. I can't help but feel that locals are scheming something. I see the Tengu warp to the site and back to the station. Then there's a Rifter warping around too. There are 4 people in local and 3 of them are from the same corp. I saw only two. I take a more detailed look at the killboard and see a lot of black ops drops. Especially the pilot that flies tackle cyno Proteus is in the system. I am very curious. Tengu is in a deadspace pocket and the covert cyno should not work. So why do I have this weird feeling about whole this situation?

I check the surrounding systems if there's any fleet waiting on standby. Nope, all clear. All connecting systems are dead. Maybe this guy is trying his luck? I decide to go for him. I park my Nestors on the wormhole, warp the Proteus close to the acceleration gate, align so I enter warp as soon as possible. Just as when my speed bar starts charging, a Proteus decloaks.

My gut was right. This is a trap. I still have about 2-3 seconds before I will enter warp. I must make a split second decision. I could stop my ship and let us tackle each other. The guy has 96% killboard efficiency and majority of kills are black ops drops. All surrounding systems are empty and he has only 2 corpmates in local. I know the corp can also field strong faction battleship fleets, but they would be at least 2 jumps out. So why is this guy attacking me? Do they really feel invincible in their area and think of me as nothing more than just a solo Proteus?

My instincts decide to leave myself in the hands of Bob. If this guy will manage to lock and tackle me, then it's a fight. If I manage to enter warp before that and don't get tackled by the Tengu on the other side, then it's a no fight. After the longest 3 seconds. my ship enters warp. I feel both, the sense of relief and the sense of disappointment of missed opportunity. I'm pretty sure this Proteus is brick tanked with a slave set. I simulate a fight in my mind. The fleet might have had enough time to cover those 2 or more jumps without much problem.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Weak reinforcements

Just chilling, minding my own business when an Armageddon with a Scythe appears on the d-scan. I am curious about the newcomers in my system. They did not come through the low-sec connection that I had parked my Proteus on, so I was rather surprised by the unexpected d-scan results. I find the ships at an anomaly.

I get in position, align the Nestors and go in for the kill. I manage to lock the Armageddon, but the Scythe disappears from the overview. Or should I say - explodes. The Sleepers did not accept the logistics ship kindly and popped him before he could warp away. I literally was a second too late to whore on the killmail. Since the Scythe just got destroyed, I assume the Armageddon would be on its way out. If I was not all over it that is.

Even with 2 repair modules backed by cap boosters, the battleship goes down in just seconds. The pod warps clear, but I manage to get the direction. It seems the visitors came from the neighboring c4 wormhole. I park the Proteus on it to keep an eye on any activity.

Half an hour later I hear an activation sound. A Sabre appears and cloaks up. Interesting. I wonder what's the plan here. Minutes later, a Megathron jumps in, burns back to the wormhole and jumps out.

It would be a perfect chance to try and grab that Megathron, but I can't help but feel uneasy with the Sabre sitting cloaked up. This could be a trap, but why is the Megathron so eager to jump out? Wouldn't it make more sense to actually wait out the timer on this side? The corp's killboard doesn't look dangerous so even if it is a bait, I am willing to take the risk.

I let the Megathron do a few jumps until the wormhole gets below 50% of mass. I check the clock and after 4 minutes decloak and align the Nestor fleet. Thankfully it's outside the d-scan range. This way I will enter warp before the Sabre bubbles up and will land on 0, ready to jump through if needed. 5 minutes passes and I nervously await for that jump sound. Here it is, my speakers announce the arrival of the battleship.

Everything goes as expected. The Sabre decloaks and bubbles up while the Megathron tries to burn back to the wormhole, but get's tackled by the Proteus.

No reinforcements are coming in. I force the Saber out and focus fire on the Megathron. It's hull tanked and holds quite well, but eventually goes down. Conveniently the bubble lasts just enough time to kill the pod too. I loot the wreck and warp the fleet back to the safe spot. Before I can enter warp, a heavy interdictor jumps in and bubbles up the wormhole. Oh shit. I set up the spider tank, set drones on assist mode and get ready to fight whoever came in.  I expect a big fleet, but only a few cruisers show up which are no match for the Nestor trio. I force them out and warp away, confused on what it was exactly the enemy tried to achieve.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Not a bait

I spot a Rattlesnake starting with the farming activities. The pilot seems to be experienced and know what he is doing. He dropps a mobile tractor unit and a mobile depot and is now prepared for the unexpected. I must admit I hate mobile depots and mtus. I want my gank to be over fast and killing additional deployables can be quite distracting, especially when multiboxing 4 ships. That's why sometimes I even ignore them.

Machine Delta is a part of Hole Violence corp that is a part of Goonswarm Federation. It has over 250 members, which is quite huge by wormhole standards. I will need to deal with this fast.

I pre-align the Nestor fleet and enter warp. It's a normal practice I do whenever my target has a mobile depot nearby. By the time my ships are spotted it will most likely be too late to refit to wcs and escape. Despite the sense of urgency, I do try to inhabit good practices and focus fire on the mobile depot and, when Rattlesnake approaches death, also an mtu.

The Rattlesnake goes down. It had wcs in the cargohold as also ballistic control systems. Lows were fully fitted with shield rechargers. I do not know if he refitted to them in hopes of tanking me or it was his normal setup. If it was, it's quite an overkill tank for a c3 if you ask me. Nevertheless, I get an almost 900mil kill.

I was quite surprised it broke without much struggle. I've had a bad experience breaking passive Rattlesnakes in the past. I scoop the loot and warp out to safe. It's time to wait out 15 minute aggression timer and go to sleep, but what's this? Not even 10 minutes pass and I see another Rattlesnake at another site.

Different guy, same corp. You've got to be kidding me. Who on earth does sites in the same system your corp mate was just ganked? Bait, that's who. I wonder if I would see a fleet sitting on any of the active connections? But I'm in no mood to risk it and it's too late. If by one in a million chance this guy is legitimately farming, he's got balls and deservers all that loot. Instead, I get an interesting idea.The Last Chancers were in this system earlier today. I convo a random pilot that I spotted flying around.

Unfortunately The Last Chancers were already disconnected from the chain. Well, maybe that's not a bad thing. It's a shame though. There's nothing more entertaining than baiting the baiters. If it was not so late, I would give a shout out in Wormhole PVP Channel, but perhaps another time. I safe log off and let the Rattlesnake farm in peace, hopefully wasting time of his fleet mates.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cheering for the away team

I sort of like wormholes with high-sec static. They often have some kind of activity. I do frequent stops at such wormholes. They are like gas stations to fuel pvp that you so much need after stalking inactive wormholes for longer periods of time. Of course most of the content is brought by innocent high-sec tourists. One such I tackle at the data site.

Astero was meeting his death in a very slow way. My Proteus has a whopping 37.5 dps

It has a symbolic one blaster fitted with two small smartbombs for those pesky light ecm drones. While its job is mostly to keep things in place, it does have just enough dps to kill most scanning frigates. It takes awhile, but gets the job done. Astero pops.

An Astero fitted for risk aversion. Not averse enough with only 2 wcs in lows. I'm surprised to see one empty slot and that random thermic hardener. If this ship will encounter any situation where he needs that extra thermal resist, it sure won't save him. After the fight, I get a convo request.

John was not very happy to have lost his first faction scanning ship. Welcome to w-space, John.

How does one know that he is not alone in a wormhole? Why check d-scan and hope you spot some signs of activity, of course.

Crofton271 was totally oblivious to 4 sets of sisters core scanner probes in the system. He decided it was good time to work on those data and relic sites. Too bad for him, one of those probe sets was mine.

The scanning ship feels the wrath of my almost teethes Proteus. I must admit I was nervous as fuck. I actually waited for him to finish half the site to see if someone else will attack him. While slowly killing the Buzzard I was aligned to random celestials, ready to warp out on moments notice.

The system was getting dangerous. Bunch of hostile ships started appearing on d-scan.

Something was definitely up and I had pretty good idea what. The ships belonged to The Last Chancers alliance. A very active pvp group. They were patiently waiting for Crofton271s wormhole rolling luxury yacht to appear. And once it did, they went for the kill.

It was like watching a pack of lions going after gazelle. The yacht desperately burned back to the wormhole and jumped out, but Sabre and Hecate followed. I was cheering for The Last Chancers. I couldn't see what was happening on the other side, but later checking out the killboard, I found out the story had a happy ending. The yacht was destroyed and the pilot sent back to the empire by pod express.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shooting yourself in the foot

I've been stalking a c4 for awhile. It seems every time I try to settle in a wormhole and wait for a potential Marauder kill or any other ship capable of running c4 anoms, nothing happens. I poke my head in a c3 static instead. Two Dominixes and wrecks appear on d-scan.

C4 might be dead, but c3 is springing with life. I quickly resolve the Dominixes at one of the anomalies, make perch and tackle them both when ready.

So far so good. Pre-warped Nestor fleet soon lands and I focus Roman Krlov's Dominix as primary. The battleship explodes in just a matter of seconds. Just when I finish setting up a spider tank and get ready to focus on the second Dominix, it's nowhere to be seen. That's strange. I could swear I had both ships tackled. The beginning of a gank is the most critical time for me. While I lock the primary and setup my spider tank, I pay almost zero attention to the battlefield. I open up the corp's kill history to see if I got them both, but find only one report.

Two warp core stabilizers fitted. What's with this all this risk aversion? Just thinking about the time it takes to lock sleepers makes me shudder. Not even a sensor booster fitted. Even if two warp core stabilizers were fitted on the other Dominix as well, it's still a mystery why he disappeared from the overview as my faction scrambler has 3 point strength.  Turns out, that while I was busy killing the first Dominix, he was busy killing his friend.

To his credit, he did manage to finish off his partner and get the kill to which I contributed just barely over 7% of damage. In other words, I whored on my victims killmail. While this Dominix did not have any wcs fitted, he did have an empty slot. As a bonus, cheap pod also met his doom. I'm pretty sure this was a guy multiboxing duo combo and me showing up on grid raised a big panic attack.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

So close, yet so far

I've been stalking some guys in a c2 with a high-sec static. Once I set my eyes on something, I can be very persistent. Of course the more effort I put into stalking, the more bitter I feel when the gank fails. Yes, Bex, I still curse you to this day for escaping me with your Night Fever Proteus. But taking a shot at a target and having him escape is arguably better than waiting for that opportunity, only to have it never arrive. I have a quite few resources at my disposal. Besides piloting 4 pvp characters, I also got many traders in the main hubs who sometimes act as my eyes. One of them is watching Dominik and his Iteron.

That ship that suddenly is yelloboxing and cargo scanning you on Jita undock? Might not be a potential suicide ganker, but a cloaky bastard waiting for you to return to your wormhole with a nice loot. This time Iteron was just dropping off PI goods and not bringing back anything of value.

Once logistics were done, my target was finally up to something. I watch him roll the wormholes in his Raven.

Grabbing a wormhole rolling battleship is a tricky business. Unless you have a dictor at your disposal, it may be fruitless endeavor due to risk of wcs in lows. Besides, ambushing a rolling battleship will always net you a very predictable kill, where as getting someone at the anomaly site, can hold unexpected shiny loot. I decide to wait and give Mr. Dominik time to make the system safe.

Once wormhole is crashed, Dominik swaps for an Astero. Ok, I guess he wants to scan the new signature before starting his farming activities. I patiently wait and let him map the newly spawned c3 static. Astero returns. Well, what ship will it be? Granted, c2 does not need a powerful ship, but some carebears like to overdo it. Domink TheMiner swaps to a Raven. Judging from him disappearing and appearing on d-scan, I guess he is also rolling the new connection.

I'm getting a bit annoyed. Is he actually looking for a suitable c3 to farm? What other reason can there be for him to roll these wormholes? It wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't a late evening and it didn't take forever for that Raven to roll those wormholes. Once done, Dominik swaps for an Astero, scans the wormhole and swaps to the Raven again. Ah, to hell with this. Rolling three wormholes is one too many that I'm willing to wait.

The signature is off d-scan range. I patiently wait for him to do the round trip and scan the wormhole once he is at the tower waiting out his 5 minute polarization timer. Once he warps back to the wormhole, I follow. The plan is to tackle him on the way back, kill him and go to sleep. It soon became clear that Raven was doomed. And no, not because of me. To my surprise, there was already a welcoming party at the wormhole.

What the... where did these guys come from? Looks like local residents of that c3. Talk about coincidence. I must admit I was caught off guard. I quickly scramble to assess the corporation. The fleet that was waiting for the Raven is not big, but I have no idea who I am up against. It was a Useless Idea corp, 70 members big, with somewhat active killboard. I felt quite confident about engaging them, but these guys do not waste any time. The Raven is quickly dealt with, loot scooped and before I get a chance to make my move, everyone jumps out. God damn it. I got the kill snatched right in front of my eyes. I fantasize for a second how the fight would have played out if I joined the party. Three-way engagement is always the most exciting. Not that I would know, but it is always fun to imagine. Wait, what am I talking about?