Saturday, March 27, 2021

Good start is half the work

While a year ago my corp got evicted, it didn't take us long to resettle back into our home system. Unfortunately, it also didn't last and at the end of last year, the decision was taken to shut down the corp. This left an open question what I should do next? I was not ready to just jump to another corp and it so happened that I got quite big new responsibilities IRL - I became a dad. Finally, I am qualified to make all those terrible dad jokes. So I decided to take it easy, stay in the corp, focus on my newborn son, and just see how it all goes.

Fast forward six months and I decided to log back just to breathe in some of that imaginary (?) EVE universe smell and perhaps update my training queue which I guarantee has been expired at least within a couple of characters, but I couldn't be arsed to keep tabs on. For some reason I keep my accounts subbed, even if I don't actively play. The way I see it, it's my cigarette tax. Since I don't smoke, I get all that extra money to splurge.

Going back to basics

I decided that instead of sitting in stations I can sit in space. After all, I am the cloaky bastard and there's not much cloaking going on when docked. I update my ancient pyfa version and start brainstorming and can already feel the excitement of coming up with my new hunting fits. So far my tools of choice have been a Proteus and 3 Nestors. I think it's a solid group that is quite versatile. Proteus will still remain my signature heavy tackle ship and there's really no need for big changes of my current fit. I really would love an extra mid or low slot. I consider giving up the Interdiction Nullifier sub-system, but then I remember all those close calls I had when bubbled, and decide it's not worth the stress. In addition, Proteus brings solid 500 dps to the table, which is nothing to scoff at for a cloaky tackle ship.

The weak link, however, I believe is the Nestors. 3 Nestors with spider tank can really help me take on multiple targets and sleepers. It's proven and tested in most engagements I had. Nevertheless, I do recognize that DPS is actually the weak link and usually time is not on my side. Key of my strength is to catch victims unaware and kill them before they get a chance to reorganize and fight back with a proper fleet. Nestor's do roughly 600 dps each and that's with 2 drone damage mods. It's really low. Combined power of 3 Nestors and a Proteus is usually enough to crack most ships defenses, mostly thanks to heavy neutralizers, but it can be slow progress for very tanked ships like passive Rattlesnakes or Marauders. Speaking of Marauders, I found out that they received a buff and now basically do double DPS. They have been scary to take on before, but now I am really worried. Given how Marauders have 2-3 cap batteries fitted, I might not live long enough for a kill to happen. I might need to forgo taking on more than 1 Marauder at a time. If someone has suggestions on the best combo to withstand duo Marauder setup, feel free to suggest in the comments.

Back to DPS subject. I decided to do one key change and replace a Nestor with a Leshak. The Leshak fits quite well into my spider tank setup. It can fit 2 cap transfers and a repair module. I will lose tank overall, especially if one of the Nestors is focused, but I am close to doubling my overall DPS. Besides, if the Leshak is focused, I still get the full power of 2 Nestors repping power. This change just makes sense and I can't wait to test it in practice.

Lucky catch

Multiboxing spider tank setup with drone ships is really hard. I haven't done it in a long time. I am rusty as hell and I am sure I will fail at a lot of micromanaged stuff. So before I go to c4s I decide to camp a c3 with HS static. I might get a random battleship or a t3c as target practice.

As expected from a wormhole with HS static, I do get quite few explorers. I play around with an Astero which managed to escape, but still tries to do sites 5 times more despite me actively trying to get him. Decloaking the Proteus and waiting for a lock on a frigate is a painfully long time. I also realize there's no reason for me to fit a webifier instead of a sensor booster.  In a few days of me camping the system, I miss out on a lot of activities. Sites get cleared when I am logged off and evenings mostly result in just me sitting in an empty and clean system. Until now.

I get a c4 connection inhabited by Szescienna-Geometria. A small corp, not really a big of a threat, but history shows they can put a fleet together I could struggle fighting solo. The system is clean and I see a Venture with Prospect clearing the few gas sites that remain. History shows some rather expensive Rattlesnake losses and I consider of moving in, but decide against it. A gut feeling more than anything. System is rather small and it would be hard to log in to my ships without being noticed. Instead, I decide to remain in a c3 and instead park my scout on the c4 connection and go mind my business.

I hear an activation sound. A quick glimpse reveals a ship I haven't seen in a long time. An Orca! 

I panic. I did not expect an Orca! My brick Proteus is not aligned and I am not sure I can get into position for a tackle fast enough, despite speed picking up very slowly. Every second I delay is a second lost. I decide not to risk it and just stay put, but now my interest is piqued. I watch the Orca warp to a HS static and park my Proteus on watch duty.

While waiting I see a Praxis and a Gnosis do sleeper sites. Thankfully my fleet is logged in and off d-scan. I ponder if the ship will come back. What kind of goodies were inside? Is someone from neighbors next door moving stuff out? Was the Orca on a one-way trip? The questions we may never find answers to. Or will we? I hear a jump. The Orca appears. I keep my cool. I initiate warp first to 10 and set my Proteus on a 5km orbit. I do not want to reveal myself just yet. The plan is to let the Orca jump, initiate warp while I jump after. It should be enough time to approach him even if my position is bad and if Orca enters warp I won't need to wait for the cloak timer to expire or worse, search an empty space if he has cloak fitted. When I see the Orca is on the grid I pre-warp my fleet. The fat ship lands and jumps in. I wait an extra second for it to disappear and hopefully for a new system to render for the unsuspecting pilot before I go after him. I jump. The Orca is on the overview and only 14km off. I quickly burn and tackle. Meanwhile, the fleet lands, and I jump everyone in and start the party.

The big whale is surrounded and nowhere to go. I unleash everything I have and soon enough I see a beautiful explosion which I believe CCP has bumped the visuals up a notch since the last time I saw an Orca explode.

While cargo disappointedly has ore in it (wtf?) I am still very happy with the catch. There's always something special about catching the big whale ship. I am also pleased to see my new addition to the fleet - the Leshak did 50% of the damage like a boss. Since I am in a good mood I decide to chat up the pilot and see if I can find out more about this whole situation.

Pooz Gogiko took the loss well like a champ and did not seem to be bothered by it at all. It seems it was the first flight for this new ship and the trip probably did not end as the owner thought it would end. Kudos to him and let's hope that his next Orca flight will be as eventful as this one.