Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When not reading patch notes costs you a kill

Today started as any other day. I launched my probes and started scanning the outer systems. I have no new home system set after abandoning the last one due to inactivity of native corp. I have been a traveler for the past few days, looking for targets in any system I could get my hands on.

Trying to maximize an opportunity

Eventually I stumble upon a c4 with some activity in it. Scan reveals 2 battleships and a command ship with wrecks present. I move my ship and cloak up immediately. I love new changes that you never end up close to wormhole anymore. In the past, in such situations if you ended up 0-500 meters from the wormhole you were really unlucky as it meant there's a good chance you will be spotted before you cloak up. Even now, the time it takes to disappear from d-scan feels too long. In this case, seems I am in a clear. Probably I haven't been spotted, but you never know for sure. Perhaps a fleet is not afraid of a lone t3.

I quickly find the anomaly where ships are at and make a position bookmark. My domi fleet waits few jumps out. I see 3 ships: Apocalypse, dominix and Eos. I'm trying to figure out the best course of action. It would be much easier if I had my corp waiting on standby with dictors and fast locking fleet ready. But this time I am on solo trip and have to make due with what I have, which is a tackle proteus and a few battleships.

Proteus has only 2 tackle mods, of which one is a scram and the other is a point. At best, I can only hold 2 ships until my dominixes warp in. If battleships are equipped with MJD, which is often the case, then I must hold one with scram and command ship with point. What's even worse, it seems that all ships are aligned to celestial or a point in space. All moving to one direction as if they are ready to warp out on moments notice. When that's the case, it usually means I am spotted and pilots are being cautious. In such situations I usually wait for ships to realign position to have better angle on sleepers and catch them during that moment. Another downside of attacking battleships is that they can hold quite few drones, especially dominix. Even though I have 2 medium and 1 small smartbombs fitted, I might not be able to kill heavy drones or even medium ones in time before I get jammed. Especially that battleships are warping so slowly after the changes and it will take awhile for my domi fleet to arrive.

Going for a kill

While I'm analyzing situation I move my domi fleet on wormhole exit to be ready. Everything is set and I wait for the right moment to grab my prey. Suddenly I see ships align to new direction. It is not a celestial and it does not look to be a signature either (love the overlay). This is a chance I've been waiting for. I carefully warp to 20km distance from targets and slowboat into scram range. Once I'm in 10km I start my well orchestrated gank procedure with multiple accounts. It goes something like this:

1. Jump in domi fleet and hold session cloak.
2. Decloak tackle proteus and turn on mwd with sensor booster.
3. Initiate warp with domi fleet (sometimes can be step 2 if target is out of d-scan range).
4. Initiate tackle with proteus and set close orbit. Set smartbombs for drones if there are any.
5 .Land with domies, Launch drones and set approach target while locking with point and neut turned on (repeat x3 for each domi).
6. Lock remaining ships and set up cap transfer with remote reps on proteus (x3, can also be step 5 if proteus is taking heavy damage).
7. Use ship scanner to evaluate cost of the ship for potential ransom (mostly applies for single target ganks with low risk of being ganked).

As you can see, piloting 4 accounts with spider tank is no walk in a park. Some people can say it is overkill. And it probably is for single targets, but I if I want to be able to gank ships up to c6 class wormhole and give a fight to small sized fleets if I needed to, I found this to be best setup. After warp changes, now that BS warps so slowly, I am considering of changing my setup to t3 only. Agility will be a huge plus, but it won't pack as big of a punch and also is more costly, not to mention skill loss chance.

Back on the subject. All seems to go according the plan. I hold the ships, domies are exiting warp, I kill ecm drones rather fast. Blood is rushing and I am feeling excited. When fleet exits warp, I notice that for some weird reason, apocalypse and eos are sitting 100km away. What is going on? Did I get jammed? Doesn't look like it. And I am sure I had both ships pointed. So what could be the reason? Well, turns out, during my time off, CCP introduced medium Micro Jump Drive, of which I was not aware or completely forgot. Had I known, my primary target, of course, would have been Eos. What a shame. Engagement left me a bit bitter taste in my mouth. But at least I have dominix still pointed and scrammed. As he is not going anywhere, I initiate convo and try to ransom.

ggnoreTT > ransom?
ggnoreTT > 200mil
Lianara Eventy > 150(
ggnoreTT > ok

Surprisingly, ransoming went quite well. Guy did not waste much time and paid up. Of course being bastard that I am I took the money and also the ship. I consider ransoming to be my personal tax on bringing in the content to the people. In total 300million isk of damage. Not bad. I'm sure the guy won't even miss it.


Once things settled down. I moved my domies to a safe spot and cloaked up. Resolved the wormhole where my targets escaped and went in for a look. I found them comfortably sitting in the tower, with already new Dominix replaced.

Usually, after people get ganked they do one of few things. One is that they stay afk at pos or log off. Second, they get reinforcements and try to bait or try to catch and kill you. Almost never they come back to salvage their wrecks.

This time, I see ships being swapped, from battleships to t1 cruisers. Activity in pos catches my eye. Will they try to ninja salvage their wrecks? They probably are not aware that I have their wormhole scanned out and watching them.  Now I see noctis and recon ships. I'm positive they will try to ninja salvage their wrecks. Recon ships warp ahead, presumably to scout and noctis follows. I was a bit too slow to follow, so I decide to give them a head start and make them go back by scaring with combat probes.

After a minute noctis left, I jump after, launch probes, pretending to be scanning them, and eagerly wait cloaked on the wormhole. Once I see noctis on scan, I warp my domi fleet in. Everything goes as planned. Noctis and cruisers come back and jump. I follow. I tackle and wait for my domi to come. It's a big system. It took quite awhile for them to land, jump, lock, launch drones and attack. Just as I was half into shields, noctis jumped out, with me still being polarized for a minute. Ah, what a shame. Everyone jumped out except for arbitrator. Perhaps he was late to the party and was still polarized. Doesn't matter, I'll take it. With fire focused he pops in a just a few seconds. That is enough for adventure today. I pack my bags and continue my pilgrimage trip.

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