Sunday, May 27, 2012

All Your Battlecruisers Are Belong To Us

One of my favourite targets when flying frigates, is the battlecruiser class hulls. There are all kinds of tactical challenges to consider when engaging such a beast. And the piloting requires the utmost attention as you will often find yourself attacked by energy neutralizers, hordes of drones or the consistent damage from an extremely well tanked missile boat.

Here are five logged encounters with different battlecruisers:

Hurry up, Hurricane
On a rather boring routine patrol to a dead end system I came across something unusual for this particular system: A Hurricane class vessel was clearing the belts of their local residents. My Firetail managed to eradicate his drones after some very good drone management by the battlecruiser. But when turning my turrets against the hull itself, I met a repair system capable keeping up with my autocannons. So it was a stalemate. Thankfully I had fellow rebels nearby to help finish the job. But what happens? When my helping hands arrive, the battlecruiser’s commanding capsuleer ejects and abandons his crew! After some minor autocannon negotiations with the local belt inhabitants, I park my Firetail in space and eject my own capsule. The crew of the battlecruiser was very happy to pledge allegiance to yours truly, as they had totally lost faith in their former command. Understandable. The Hurricane is now reconfigured for more dirty work and it will be flown as a stolen ship. I guess the crew one day will realize their bad luck, because this hull is destined for death and destruction.

Even You, Brutix?
It seems that capsuleers in dead end systems like to cruise around in battlecruisers looking for battle with local belt inhabitants. This was another case of such behavior. This one, however, thought he was safe as he had chosen an anomaly rather than a belt. The capsuleer quickly contacted me through the local communications channel when I landed my scrambler on his big spaceship: “How did you find me so qickly?!” I explained that this is usual procedures in my line of work while I worked my way through his armor. He also made me an offer I definitely could refuse, before he proceeded to eject from his ship to save his capsule. So far, my quite good battlecruiser skills have been used mostly to board and dock battlecruisers that have been left for me in space.

A Sugar Cane
Oh, this was a sweet one. The pilot looked decent enough, but I was feeling sexy and wanted to test my firetail under medium neutralizers. I sure did get one hell of a test. The complexities of managing capacitor, scrambler, webifier, repair system and and killing drones that get launched and withdrawn all the time - well, that is a very intense experience! But once the drones were gone, the tracking disruptor did an excellent job of keeping my Firetail safe from the medium sized guns. However, it was a decent chance that it would get away if my capacitor was bleeding too much under his neutralizers. It was a game of capacitor management. My nosferatu and I, we won it. Then a few minutes later I tried again on another Hurricane-pilot and lost.

Hurricane Downgraded to Light Breeze
There is something about battlecruisers. They seem to be the most tempting ship for freshly graduated capsuleers. Battle. Cruisers. They sure sound scary. But, when flying a big ship, you need certain skills to do so effectively. And that is an important factor to evaluate when choosing battlecruisers for targets. This pilot stood out as an obvious target – and sure enough, it hardly fought back. Oh, it tried, but couldn’t land a solid hit. So I took it down with ease. In my Rifter. That is a lesson I have given many green pilots. An expensive lesson, but it should be good value for their ISK lost.

To Drake Even
The Drake. It is a beast for a single frigate. You seldom find your capacitor neutralized, but there are two major problems: It will do damage to you. And it has a tank that needs some serious damage – and time – to break. So there is no doubt you’re gonna need an active tank to hold out for a while and decent damage dealing capabilities. The tracking disruptor installed on Firetail-class frigate did not become very useful in this fight (allthough engineers and scientists are apparently working on making it useful against missiles as well). The nosferatu and the armour repairer, however, did their job: Buy time. And after the drones was taken care of, the Drakes shields very slowly withered away. My pulsed repairer managed to keep up with the damage from the heavy missiles. And the nosferatu kept feeding my capacitor with just enough energy for my scrambler the pulsed repair system. Once the Drake’s structure began to crumble, the commanding capsuleer agreed on paying me 66 millions in ISK to avoid a rather embarresing loss. I decided that was a good enough offer and let the burning beast warp away.

Two kills. Two free ships. One ransom. This is why I love battlecruisers.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Zen And The Art Of Spaceship Maintenance

This log entry should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on spaceships, either. 1)

How do you define quality? Is it merely the temperature of the fluids that surrounds your clone? The level of comfort of your captain’s quarter’s sofa? Or is it your extensive knowledge of the inner workings of your spaceships, turrets and launchers? Might it be the taste of tears from those you aim those very weapons against? Or is it the tranquility of space as you float cloaked through the scenic solar systems in your expensive strategic cruiser?

I have struggled with this. I have always wanted to be good at what I do. But what is good when it comes to shooting other spaceships? Some strive towards ISK efficiency. Others are obsessed about their kill/loss ratio. Some pilots strive for profit in their adventures - and actually manage to pull it off. Certain capsuleers even spend time making graphs on different ammunition's damage output in regards to range and tracking and all that technical stuff. Somehow they even manage to translate that into actual piloting! Others don't like to actually fly their spaceships, but enjoy parking them at a gate, all geared up with sensor boosters, friendly backup and a network of scouts giving early warnings on anything scary.

Myself, I am trying to find a balance. A balance between the technical side of piloting and fitting your ship and the non-technical awareness of threats and opportunities and knowing your spaceship’s capabilities based on experience and feeling. A balance between worrying about statistics and ISK-loss and flying reckless for the greatest adrenaline kick and most spectacular explosions. A balance between good fights, adventure, easy kills and loot.

I am not the greatest when it comes to kill/death ratio or ISK efficiancy or pure number of kills. I don't make the most spectacular kills, and I am not always looking for the honourable good fight. Give me a mining Navitas and I will happily engage! But when I manage to find my balance between all those things, then I am the best pilot in all New Eden. When my hull is burning from a very close encounter, my death to kill ratio is on the positive side, I’ve ransomed a miner and I’ve given a hard lesson to a fresh pilot, then I am the most sexy moustached space bandit that ever terrorized New Eden.

Because it is the balance, my friend, that defines quality.

Have you found your intergalactic moment of Zen?

Intergalactic moment of Zen.
1) Blatant theft from the intro of the ancient terran classic novel “Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig. Oh, did I mention that the title of this log entry also... Oh, you got that? OK. Here is a terran short abstract of the novel. It is a good read, and should be read by many.