Friday, March 13, 2009

ISK in the Void

An old mercenary buddy of mine, Severice, and I decided to embark on an mapping expedition into an unknown system. He picks up a Myrmidon-class battlecruiser and I select my Deimos-class Heavy Assault Cruiser, and go on our way.

One of my friends from the Hellcats, Venom Orchid, had a probing pilot in the system that had found an Archeology site. The other team out in the system with us didn't have the equipment for archeology, but we did. The two of us braved the new, dreaded Sleepers without much trouble. I provided the damage, he the repairs. I analyzed the wrecks in space and picked up a couple (hopefully valuable) artifacts that needed reverse-engineering.

After that, we kicked around the system for a while longer until we both decided to try one of the easier Cosmic Anomalies in the system. This went fairly well for both us... until a battleship spawned and I ended up too far away from Severice and my Deimos popped. That pretty much ended the trip there... especially since I had lost both artifacts in the explosion.

We moved ourselves back to a trade hub and I purchased a shiny new Harbinger-class battlecruiser, the Voidhunter, and refit it. After that point, I decided to poke around that system for a bit... finding another wormhole to unknown space in it.

I called Severice over and we both attempted to jump through... only to have it wink out as a Hurricane-class battlecruiser jump out. What had happened is that the two of us had cross-jumped and the Hurricane (or myself) had destabilized the wormhole and caused its collapse.

Thus I was in unknown space without Severice to support me. Luckily, Voidhunter had a probe launcher fitted, so I was set to escape myself. Then my sensors picked up some communications signals in space. Investigating, I saw that three or four rookie pilots were stranded in system and waiting for their probe ship to find another way out. I saw an opportunity, and immediately warped from planet to planet until I found the ship performing the scans, an Imicus-class frigate. Locking the fragile hull, I destroyed it with a single volley.

I then struck a deal with the (now completely stranded) pilots: I would find them an exit, in exchange for ISK. They wisely accepted and paid, while I got to work. After a short while, I picked up another wormhole, leading to low security-space, which I then led the two hapless ships out of... which placed me some 20 jumps away from home. I cruised home in good humor, having made a bit of ISK from seeming misfortune.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Performance Tradeoffs

Word got in about some new tech that was coming out soon--upgraded probe launchers. It seems that the boffins at Yulai had changed some of the pertinent regulations regarding scanner probes; the probes seemed to be leaking some sort of background radiation that was harmful to something. I don't know, and I honestly don't care why. What does matter is that the retooled probes are a lot different than they had been. I was curious, so I looked through the difference in specifications myself.

First, the probes' single-point quad-angulation system was scrapped in favor of a much simpler mechanism that simply reports distance from a target to the probe itself. The system had always been a bit dodgy anyway (which turned looking for something in space to be more of a matter of luck than actual skill), so this new adjustment seemed like a good tradeoff. Of course, I'd need to throw more probes out into space at specific points in order to figure out what is what. This leads me to the next major change: the designers had enough room to fit a warp drive and sophisticated control circuitry to the probes in question, which takes care of the placement problem.

I was able to run some simulations with the setup, and while it took some learning, I believe it to be a superior setup to the old hardware.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Gentleman's Way of War

Battle report, 2008-12-30, Brin System.

The Bastards had received a letter of challenge from Red Box. corporation, specifying a straight-up fight with battleships and assorted classes of ships.

Being fairly new to the fleet, I chose to put my "best foot forward" and acquired and refit a Damnation-class command cruiser for this very match. We planned to "spider-tank" our respective battleships with my ship allowing for greater efficiency and stronger armor plating. We assumed that the "enemy" would be fit similarly. I was also coordinating the repair efforts for our side.

The trouble began when we attempted to take down the Armageddon and their enemy fleet melted two or three of our ships before we could even get the repairers to finish cycling. Apparently the enemy ships had been set up for maximum damage output.

To make a long story short, we lost that challenge... but we all made it out in our pods and I believe we, as a group, learned something about our tactics.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Targets of Opportunity

Looking at my chrono, I spotted that I needed to get back to base from the low-security space I was at. I finished off my ale and returned to the Majestic, my prestigious Federation Navy-issued Megathron-class battleship. She's a sleek and sexy lady.

Moving from Saranen, I started moving through jumps when I encountered an Armageddon on an inbound gate. That ship quickly turned hostile and began to disrupt my warp drive. Naturally, I returned fire with relish. Lasers quickly chewed through Majestic's shields and began to nibble away at her armor, while particle blasters lit up the Armageddon. Time passed, as the silent broadsides continued. Then my sensors registered multiple incoming ships: backup.

I did the only thing I could do--silence my guns and hope that the hull held long enough for my escape through the jump gate. I managed to squeak through and then completed my trip across Empire space, dodging more fire from the Caldari Navy as I raced.

Poor Majestic bore the scars from the fight well... at least until I paid the twenty-seven million ISK repair bill.

A Matter of Pride

My last exploration excursion brought my ship and crew to a expanse of deadspace labeled by the DED as once being occupied by rogue drones -- an "outgrowth" of a hive. Returning to station, I took a chance and brought Cake or Death? out to combat. As a Gallente combat pilot, I always feel a slight bit of dread when confronted by these new creatures in space.

Anyway, I jump through the acceleration gate to be confronted by the monstrosities. My ship's agility is suffcient to avoid most of the incoming drone fire, and my fire-linked blasters make short work of any drone foolish enough to allow me to draw near (read: all of them). Cleaning up all of the smaller drones (frigate and cruiser analogs), I come up to one of my worse nightmares: a Dominix, captured and twisted. I can't cry, not inside the pod goo, but I sidle up next to the aberration and let loose with everything I have. As my afterburner is on permanently, the cumbersome drone ex-ship cannot hit me! Unfortunately, after burning through the drone's shields, I find that I can't do enough damage to it to make the kill, to avenge whatever crew had lived and died on that vessel.

Time to face the facts: My guns aren't enough damage and the situation will swiftly become a stalemate. Time to either cut and run, go out and find a bigger combat vessel, or call for help. Choosing the third option, I request assistance from Karjan Amahel, who I've worked with before. He locks onto my homing beacon and arrives on the field in a fresh Vexor-class cruiser. With his added drones and firepower, we manage to bring the battleship down.

The two of us jump through the next set of acceleration gates, killing whatever the drones can muster against us. In the final room, a huge, bloated, Lesser Strain Mother floated in space, surounded by captured cruise missile launchers, point defense batteries, and more battleships, as well as a cruiser and frigate analogs. I flash a comm signal to Karjan, advising him to hang back and start performing salvage operations. I would do battle, alone, with this whore.

I start by cleaning up the smallest ships closest to me (no sense getting my warp drive shut down at an inoppurtune moment), and then head for the cruise missile batteries (damage I cannot evade completely). During this time, most of the cruiser and frigate analogs are hanging back near the immobile Strain Mother. My ship turns to start dealing with those analogs when I receive word that the ship had been mired in a stasis webifier effect... at 90% effectiveness too. CONCORD needs to have a word with these drones about the new regulations regarding webifier power output.

That's when the weapon ports on that bitch opened up. Tons of damage poured into my shields and then armor. I managed to escape before the hull damage became irreversible. Clearly, I could not evade that kind of damage. Nor could my poor ship soak it. The choice I had made earlier presented itself to me again, again I chose to call for help. Kerblammo of The Bastards answered in a Drake-class battlecruiser, a ship known for its ability to absorb punishment. However, he was ill-fit and could not take the heat.

At this point, it had become a matter of pride for myself. I knew of a ship on the other side of the universe that could take that firepower and laugh. I also had a clone nearby that I could transfer my consciousness into. Moving there, I picked another ship that I had there that I had wanted to move out of the station anyway (a simple cargo cruiser that I had used for salvaging) . Unfortunately, I ran into a nullsec fleet with interdiction bubbles. Trying again from a different start location, I retrieved this new ship, a specially equipped Ishtar-class Heavy Assault Ship, and safely guided her to the drone hive.

Once there, I initially took it slow and teased the rest of the drone aberrations out from under the protection of their Bitch Mother. Finally, I eased into the webifier range of the Mother (50 kilometers!) and launched drones. The shield regeneration on the whore was monstrous. Into the Breach's shields absorbed the pain without much issue. I noticed something curious, however: While I was inside of webifier range of that immobile slut, she repaired her armor damage rapidly. When I eased outside her range, she stopped repairing her armor damage.

Finally, my drones ended her in a firey explosion. I collected her remains and brought them back to the station to sell off to a DED-backed research firm, then bought a round of drinks for myself, my crew... and a fresh coat of paint for my drones.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Well, toasty today in flight.

Today's losses tally to (as time of writing):
1 Personal Capsule, 1 Phobos-class Heavy Interdiction Cruiser.

Ran into a gatecamp in Rancer and found the evils of the refitted smart-bomb Rokh-class battleships. Woke up in Torrinos. After dodging some fire in EC-P8R, I wandered up into Period Basis and reclaimed the Girl's Best Friend, a Phobos-class heavy interdictor. Made it partway back and ran into a large emplacement of non-aligned ships. While the Girl's Best Friend was a stout ship, she was doomed from the start. Mourning my crew for a moment (because good crew is hard to find), I escaped and wandered back into Hek, where I picked up the Apeture Science, my Helios-class covert operations ship.

After some leisurely exploration, I switched to the Cake or Death?, my new Enyo-class Assault Ship. With the recent mandates restricting the power output of stasis webifiers now in effect, these smaller hardy frigates are now quite effective in taking out larger targets.

I get called out to Ingunn, where some pirates I've been hanging out with have taken up camping an asteroid belt and picking off ships that warp off the station (which were being scared off by an Armageddon near a station).

We picked off a few ships and then a Tempest-class battleship arrived in the belt.

I immediately ordered full thrust from the afterburners and nestled into a tight orbit around the target, keeping a single warp scrambler. The ship launched a flight of drones and killed off the tackling Crusader with neutralizers. The rest of the gang kept frying the drones and then resumed firing on the Tempest. He launched more drones and kept trying to shake my ship. Luckily, my own capacitor recharge rate was sufficient to keep my afterburner and scrambler running despite his neutralizers. We kept destroying drones and eventually finished off the ship.

Afterwards, I called for the damage reports, to be relieved that my reinforced armor plating had held. However, he either never attempted to fire upon my ship or he never successfully hit me.

Time to go back and finish up that exploration.