Friday, March 25, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Propping up the Scythe Fleet Issue market

I decided to have a go at the Scythe Fleet Issue. I heard a streamer, Zarvox, describing it on a podcast (possibly Jeffraider’s one on Crossing Zebras) as a good ship to fight small gangs in. I had a look at it and decided he was right. It is fast, has a good align time and does nice brawling damage, which is my favourite.

I won't paste the fit here. There are plenty of zkillboard links for you to follow below. Ahem.

I was up near the top of the Cal/Gal zone and decided to do a tour of Imperium space. I headed into Cloud Ring (empty), and then did the loop all the way across Fade to the Pure Blind entry. I saw six SMA people during the entire trip, none of which wanted a fight. But surely Pure Blind would be better!

I wandered about the NPC constellation for a while and then did the big loop on the east of Pure Blind plus the TNT constellation up above it. I saw another half dozen pilots but, again, none wanted to fight. I then got fed up with the Imperium and decided to go to Provi instead.

Provi is a long way from Pure Blind, especially when you avoid highsec. But I had barely made it back into the Cal/Gal zone when I had a scuffle with a Svipul. I aggressed him on a gate (he was flashy) and we fought. The idea with the SFI is that you pull a little range on the tackled ship with your afterburner, allowing you to hit them hard with the medium autocannons. So that is what I did, and I started hitting him pretty hard indeed. He was in low shield when the other two Svipuls in his gang, which I didn’t know about, jumped through the gate and killed me.

Sigh. SFI#1:

Still, plenty more where that came from. Although now that I think about it, I don’t exactly know where they come from. Presumably something to do with loyalty points but I’m not really sure. And as long as people keep putting them up on the market I am quite content with the situation.

Anyway, as I was saying I hopped into another SFI and continued on my journey. This time I almost made it to Providence. I had become bored with the journey, especially since I was traversing a stretch of highsec, and had opened up Project Discovery. I was figuring out a particularly interesting photo involving focal adhesions when my ship started making noise. Customs agents! Well that’s alright, I’ll just warp away. Except now they have me scrammed because I wasn’t fast enough. But that doesn’t matter because I can crash the gate. Except that my ship won’t move because they have disabled that, too.

Sigh. SFI#2 lost. How embarrassing. I don’t like the mechanics around drugs. They can’t be contracted easily and I get irritated every time I have to interact with NPCs. Why can’t it be players doing border control? Humph. Stupid customs agents.

Anyway, I did my bit to deplete the Amarr SFI inventory and was soon winging my way back towards Providence. I docked up in Misaba, just before the entry system, to fix a module I had inexplicably overheated and was again distracted by Project Discovery (it is a plot I tell you) as I undocked. It was, naturally, a kick-out station:


I’m so bad at this.

The Amarr stockpile was soon minus another SFI and I was winging my way back to Providence. I can get stubborn that way. You may have noticed. This time, I actually made it in! It had been quite a journey. Of course, after just a few gates I came across a Brutix Navy Issue sitting upon a gate. It was a thoroughly unsuitable fight so, of course, I took it and promptly died. It was a really terrible performance.


Oh boy. Surely, I thought, SFI#5 would fare better. A Crow, sitting upon a gate deep in Provi, decided to yellow-box me. So I killed him. That was about as detailed as the description gets, unfortunately, since it was over too quickly to explore the ship’s capabilities.


I continued roaming until a found a stray Scythe Fleet Issue (fancy that!), sitting at a mining anomaly. That puzzled me mightily so I did the only sensible thing: I warped in and tackled him. Now, I have learned that obvious bait in Providence is very likely obvious bait. So it proved in this case. My opponent’s SFI was shield buffer fit but I had managed to chew him down to low shield before his friends landed on top of me. Four charges remained in my shield booster.

The Caracal had a long point but relatively anaemic damage. The Devoter had a nasty bubble. I overheated my afterburner and started to pull range on the SFI’s scram, earnestly desiring to warp away and avoid Embarrassment Number Five. Luckily, the other SFI did not appear to be dual-prop and I was soon outside of scram range. However, I was now capped out and couldn’t start my MWD! I turned everything off and frantically clicked the button. It activated! I pulled range from the Caracal and aligned to an asteroid belt.

In retrospect, I don’t understand why I was not also scrammed by the Devoter’s long reach. Perhaps it wasn’t fit with one, or perhaps I was simply out of range by then. I should have been recording.

Anyway, it was at this point that I made my mistake. The Provi pilots wanted blood and the SFI was pursuing me for all his worth, rapidly outpacing his friends. I should have turned around and killed him! I could have done so! But instead I warped away to shameful safety, full of red modules.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: A bait or not a bait?

I was contentedly playing around with Project Discovery whilst sitting upon a titan, waiting to drop on something or other. This takes a long time and is very boring. It is my firm belief that CCP added Discovery purely as a buff to such fleets.

Anyway, a new pilot jumped into system. He was one of the baddies and he was in a Chimera, a carrier, just one jump out of our staging system.

Obvious bait. Obvious even to me. And it became even more obvious when he jumped next door and warped to the station in order to sit on the undock.But we warped to him anyway because we were bored.

I expected a cyno to light any moment, with a counter fleet appearing and killing us all dead. Instead, our intrepid fleet quickly bumped him off the undock and started killing him. Zappity contributed magnificently with her Warriors (alas, the Scimitar doesn't really have room for guns) and even Zappity's cousin from marketing, who had originally joined Pandemic Horde to see what all the fuss was about, unleashed some torpedos.

The carrier went into triage and the damage slowed down, just as a Dominix landed on grid. Here, surely, was the missing cyno of doom! Alas for the carrier, it was not to be. Despite having a cyno plus fuel the battleship died before it proved to be of much assistance.


The carrier soon exited triage and rapidly dipped into armour and then hull. He exploded very nicely indeed.


The next time I logged in I took a Hyperion out. I wanted to test the new webby thing so I fitted up a magnificently repping beast of a battleship and took it out for a spin. A brave little Thorax soon took the bait which was dangling innocently in a large plex. I slapped both webs on him and he simply melted when I pulled a few kilometres range.


I understood his motivation entirely. I have taken similar fights - some you win, some you lose. He took his loss cheerfully and I was soon making my way further down the chain.

A Stiletto waited long enough on a gate for me to lock him up and wallop him with my blasters. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to alpha him and he jumped through in low shields. Even more unfortunately, two Barghest battleships replaced him!

Now, I was cruising for a fight but must admit that I was thinking more along the lines of a small cruiser gang, or perhaps a few battlecruisers. I was not thinking of two pirate battleships. But it was a bit late for all that, them having locked me up good.

I knew I wouldn't be able to kill them (probably not even one of them) so I put the repper on and waited patiently on the gate for my weapons timer to disappear.

The nasty little interceptor had been watching, however, and followed me through the gate. He pointed me before I could warp away so I decided that it needed killing. I sent my warriors after him and slowed him down a bit with the grappler. But I wasn't hitting him hard enough and just before he died his mates jumped through.

I tried to launch my mobile jump whatsit but was too close to the gate. While the Barghests were finishing me off I thought that perhaps I need to rethink my fit and switch the afterburner for a micro jump drive. But then I'd lose any semblance of active range control.

Sigh. Decisions.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Embarrassing lowsec losses

I have had some very embarrassing losses back in lowsec. I am badly out of practice.

First, I decided to try out a Gnosis which, for some strange reason, I found in a hangar in Ishomilken. I tried to pick a fight with a frigate gang (they all ran away), several solo T3Ds (they also all ran away) and a station-hugging Abaddon which made me long for my little command dessie. In the end, I got into a fight with a Vexor Navy Issue who killed me dead. It wasn’t even close:


I never managed to get around to tidying up all the good stuff I had in my lowsec home so I was able to rapidly reship into a Firetail. Which I equally rapidly lost to a couple of T1 frigates. I totally messed up my range control and my relatively meagre tank was quickly overwhelmed:


I continued my streak of solo magnificence (Zappity style) when I fought a Comet in another Firetail, this time a dual web variant. Honestly, there’s just a ridiculous number of ships just begging to be exploded in this hangar. Now, I know for a fact that a well-flown Firetail can get under the guns of a rail Comet and give him a nasty surprise. Oh yes, a well-flown Firetail can do that alright. However, a Firetail that is told to target, orbit and shoot at the plex beacon instead of the Comet doesn't tend to do quite so well. I kept getting a popup asking me if I wanted to proceed with a ‘potentially dangerous action’ and by the time I realised what was wrong I was already dead:


Another Comet was soon found. This time, I was determined to do things properly. I warped into the plex and was surprised to see the Comet a good way off, moving at MWD speed. He pointed me immediately and sent his drones out.

The aforementioned specimens were already chewing into my armour when I began managing my afterburner cycles and direction for a slingshot. I aligned toward the back of his orbit and hit the afterburner. Sure enough, his orbit flung him out a little too far and his point dropped.

But I wasn't looking to escape. No sir! I reversed my course, trying to time it with the end of an afterburner cycle, and was soon zooming towards him. The distance between us narrowed but at a declining rate as he began to correct his orbit to maintain range. I overheated and hit him with my webs, just managing to snag him with my scram before he escaped. Ha! It was soon over, his kite-scrubbing Comet no match for the Firetail:


All of this, however, begs the question about what I am doing back in lowsec. Well, I just haven't had the time to do justice to nullsec recently. This is only going to get worse in the not too distant future with an upcoming lengthy trip of a sabbatical-like nature during which I will be confined to my laptop. So I think it is time to head back to lowsec. Now I just need to find a corp with some AU timezone coverage. I think I might have a go at faction warfare.