Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Daring to lose. As usual.

“Pleeeaaase can I have some Daredevils?”, Zappity asked her cousin in marketing.
“No! You’ll just go and do something stupid with them - I know what you’re like!”, he responded.

But Zappity won out in the end. After all, what is all the ISK for if not to be exploded?

[Daredevil, Rails ab]

Damage Control II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Adaptive Nano Plating II

Coreli C-Type 1MN Afterburner
Federation Navy Stasis Webifier
Faint Warp Disruptor I

150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
[Empty High slot]
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Small Anti-Explosive Pump I

I had every intention of being careful with this ship, and not jumping into obvious traps and the no-win situations that I thrive on. Ahem. Well, things started out alright when I finally caught a Slicer we had been chasing around the system. He had aggression, warped to a gate to escape and I think he panicked at not being able to jump. I caught his pod, too, although perhaps he just wanted a fast trip home:


And then we saw a Tengu on scan, warping from plex to plex. Now this was OBVIOUS bait and we even commented as such. But Zappity has a short memory and had already forgotten the discussion with her cousin in marketing. Ten seconds later the Tengu was scrammed. Twenty seconds later Zappity was warping away in her pod with her tail between her legs. A few short cycles of the Tengu’s Neutron Blaster Cannon II had done the job on a Daredevil that foolishly didn’t get into a tight enough orbit.


And it was a good drop for him! Well, not one to take defeat lying down, Zappity was soon in a very hastily assembled Crucifier and winging her way back to the system to get point and apply tracking disruptors for the corpies. This loss wasn’t quite as humiliatingly rapid as the Daredevil loss due to the tracking disruptors. But it was still pretty bad! The Tengu had astonishing tracking. I am going to have to take a closer look at blaster Tengus.


We gave up after that, not having enough people online to take him down. Oh well. This may have been the fit:


Zappity still hasn’t told her cousin in marketing.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thorax of Doom!

I thought I might have more luck finding a solo cruiser outside FW regions so I jumped into a wormhole which took me to a lowsec region in the Forge. It was disappointingly empty.

I meandered my way along a lowsec chain and before long found myself at the top of the Amarr/Minmatar zone. I set a long route back to Ishomilken and started on my way, watching for potential victims in every system.

Before long I spotted a Merlin and Maller. They were clearly together but not one to be deterred by anything sensible I thought I'd have a go anyway. I was concerned about getting double webbed and not being able to reach either of them with my Electron blasters. But you can't worry about every little thing! Actually, my cunning plan was to web the Merlin back and hopefully have my Valkyries chew him down:

[Thorax, Dual rep brawler v2]

Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Medium Armor Repairer II

Stasis Webifier II
Warp Scrambler II
10MN Afterburner II
Medium Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I, Cap Booster 800

Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Medium Nanobot Accelerator I

Valkyrie II x5

As it happened, I was worrying needlessly. I followed the Maller from a gate to the Sun but actually landed on the Merlin! The Maller must have chosen a nearby celestial and I just happened to stumble onto the frigate. Maybe they were luring me to the sun and the Mallee mis-clicked. I slapped a web on the Merlin and before he knew what was going on he was toast:

I had just opened the wreck up when the Maller landed next to me. So I closed the wreck and went for him, keeping a close eye on local for any reinforcements.

I messed around a bit during this fight, interested to see how effective the close range orbit was against his guns - you can see it in the video. Sure enough, I hardly took any damage while in orbit but started getting hammered when I switched to Keep at Range, although it wasn't enough to break through my reps.

He made a mistake in not targeting my drones - a weakness of the Thorax is a small drone bay - but I didn't tell him that. I just waited patiently for his armour to drop.

Ha! He commented afterwards that he had indeed landed too late, and that their plan WAS to control range with webs on both ships. Very sneaky, these lowsec types. But I foiled them!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Taking another look at dessies

Time to take another look at dessies. I have never really felt comfortable in dessies. They usually seem to lack some fairly fundamental feature for solo work, like range control in a Catalyst or having to sacrifice unacceptable amounts of DPS for a tank in practically everything else. Some of the Thrashers are alright but I have always found them quite predictable which I don’t like.

I loaded up a kiting Cormorant:

[Cormorant, Boring kiting Cormorant]

Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Faint Warp Disruptor I

150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
[Empty High slot]

Small Auxiliary Thrusters I
Small Auxiliary Thrusters I
Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I

I figured that I also need to do some more kiting since I usually either brawl or scram kite. The Cormorant was supposed to be kept outside of scram range and mercilessly rain down charges on my hapless brawling prey.

Well, I got bored of that after looking around for fights for half an hour. Maybe it’s just me but I eventually figured that kiting tends to be a bit more difficult in FW regions because it is hard to warp in on targets at range when they are in plexes.

And I am impatient.

But anyway, as I was saying I got bored and decided to jump on a Corax in a Small plex. The plan was to hit the overheated MWD before he could scram me. It didn't work because he tackled me too quickly. Most unfair. So I found myself held at 8km from an angry Corax with a thick (400mm, no less) armour tank. So it wasn't really going according to plan. But since 8km is actually a great distance for 150mm railguns I still killed him, albeit with only 11% hull remaining.


Good result, right? Well, not really. I could have done it much more comfortably in the Comet or even a different Cormy fit. And what sort of rubbish is that Corax? Getting killed by an untanked and not particularly ganky Cormorant! So I went off the Cormorant and decided to play in PYFA with the Algos again. Here is the fit I came up with:

[Algos, Zappity’s Honour]

Pseudoelectron Containment Field I
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

125mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Small Unstable Power Fluctuator I

Small Transverse Bulkhead I
Small Transverse Bulkhead I
Small Transverse Bulkhead I

Acolyte II x5
Warrior II x5

This is a dessie fit that I (finally) like. 8k EHP, mostly in hull, and just over 300 DPS, mostly from the Algos’ velocity-bonused drones. I first killed another Algos, a feeble shield version:

Feeble shield Algos:

It must have been a shock to the feeble shield Algos pilot - my shield disappeared fast, then my armour was gone, and then I was in hull. Which slowly dropped to about 2/3 before he died. Maybe that explained the pod loss. And then I drove off his Maulus and Merlin corpies who were bent on revenge after he popped. When we met up with them again I even fended off a Dragoon (who I was secretly terrified of because I usually fly cap-poor ships). Finally, a Claw caught me on a gate but had to warp off in deep structure due to my speedy Warriors.

Good fun. Decent tank, decent damage, decent defence against kite-scrubbery and not too slow. If you want an afterburner version you can upgrade the suitcase to a DC2 which gets you an extra few hundred EHP.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Losses, losses and more losses

I’m discouraged by my cruiser losses:





It is much harder to get a solo cruiser fight. People tend to be more reluctant to risk a cruiser than a frigate (I suppose I can understand that) and usually have something up their sleeve. Links, alts and corp mates seem to be much more common. Oh well, all’s fair etcetera. The gank Thorax and Vexor fits will pretty much murder anything that chooses to fight it one on one, so I guess it is fair enough that people choose not to.

It is with a heavy heart, full of dark thoughts about the future of solo cruiser combat, that I decided to hop back into a Police Pursuit Comet for a spin. I jumped through the gate and was instantly popped by a gate camping Proteus (seriously, Madbuster73 of Daredevil plus bait farming Merlin fame is really trying to outdo Patrick Kasper for the title of Potential Nemesis):

Police Comet:

Sigh. It’s just one of those weeks. I’m sure that anyone who has done much solo knows exactly what I mean. I hopped into a new Comet and headed in the other direction. The first thing I came across was a stabbed farming Catalyst. So I docked, switched my web for a second scram, and killed him good:

Farming Catalyst:

I would crow about the capsule but I think he probably wanted to take the pod express to refit. Next up was a Hawk. I expected him to be rocket fit and was ready to pull range and warp out if the damage was too heavy. But it wasn't, so I didn't, and he died:


Then I found a Tristan waiting for me in a plex. He was sitting on the beacon with a cloud of drones buzzing about him. This was a very close fight. As soon as I spotted his neut I pulled range but accidentally overshot and lost point. He had a few seconds to warp away but bravely chose not to. Unfortunately, in my haste to reacquire point I again overshot (this time the other way) and a quickly-applied neut cycle capping me out! But I had already worn him down enough that my drones were able to finish him despite my hull smoking in a most alarming manner!


He asked for my fit and I obliged. Another victim appeared shortly after, also waiting in a plex but this time 10km from the beacon. He tried to kite but I managed to haul him in. A nice fit, actually:


More action awaited in Prism. A Comet kept running away from me (the cowardly cuss) into a plex containing an Algos. The pair tried to catch me a couple of times but were transparently obviously in their attempts. I wanted to kill that Algos! While I was fooling around with them I stumbled across a Firetail who promptly exploded in a most satisfactory manner:


And finally, I spotted the Algos alone in a Small plex. When I started FRAPS ( the Comet was in the Medium, and although I figured that it wouldn't be long before he decided to join us I still wanted to have a crack at the Algos. So I tackled him on the acceleration gate before he could enter the plex. Sure enough, the Comet soon appeared on scan but I chose to finish off the Algos instead of running:


It was probably too much to expect that I could also kill the Comet with only a quarter of my hull left! And so I, in turn, exploded:

Comet loss:

By this time half of local was flashing blue and not particularly happy about my presence. So I bought a shuttle and went home, well satisfied with the wreckage strewn behind me.

Now if only I could figure out those cruisers. I am toying with the idea of making more use of my scout alt. I might start checking for wormholes to hop through to less ‘advanced’ space. Maybe it is arrogance but I tend to consider lowsec FW regions as being the toughest small gang and solo PvP you can find. Perhaps I should put that to the test.

I also want to get a good kiting fit. My initial tinkering with PYFA is suggesting that I should probably have trained up Minmatar Cruiser V instead of Gallente Cruiser V. That Stabber looks awfully enticing and might provide the sort of kiting fit I probably need for successful solo cruising in lowsec. We’ll see.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I didn't want that Thorax anyway!

Not convinced that the last victory was not a fluke, I decide to venture forth in the Giant Incursus (I mean Thorax) again. I really want to find another Moa, or Giant Merlin as I have started to think of them, just to be sure. But what are the chances of that?

Well, just south of our little home I spotted another putative victim on scan. Hmm, not at a belt. Could he be ratting? Aha! Yes! But by the time I arrive all I see are wrecks and his dscan signature in another asteroid field. I sort my ‘belts’ overview by name and select the belt two below the current one, figuring that he would be on his way to it before long. Sure enough, we land at about the same time.

Well at least he isn’t PvE fit! I ignore his scram and web and move into a tight orbit, get all the things firing and droning and webbing and whatnot and watch as his shield starts to drop. And then go back up. And then drop again. And you get the picture. Active tank, probably XLASB, but are there one or two of them? Only one, it appears as he suddenly drops into armor and then hull. Another one bites the dust.


Now I want to find a different type of cruiser to fight. I am guessing that an armour electron fit is not going to be quite versatile enough for proper solo work but let’s see.

And, there! Just before downtime I spot a cruiser gang in a plex: Thorax, Omen, Curse. I try and bait them into splitting up but they aren't having a bar of it. And so i jump in anyway, keen to have a crack. Surely my newly designed indestructible Thorax can beat a measly three cruisers!

The Curse rapidly neuts me out but I'm not too concerned about that since i have a cargo hold full of charges. I choose the Thorax, thinking that he is the most likely to want to brawl. I doubt I will be able to catch a ship that doesn't want to with two or three webs on me. Sure enough, he comes close and I immediately break his shield and start working through his armour.

Unfortunately, I forget that I have two reppers, and only fire up the ancillary when I am already in hull. Far too late!


I didn't want that Thorax anyway :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Hookbill crashes the party

Frigates! Breacher, Merlin, Rifter. How hard can it be for the magnificent rail Comet? Well, not hard at all when they don't land at the same time. The Breacher went down first with the Merlin landing just as his hull was almost finished. I switched the scram to him and repeated the process, only to see the Rifter land just as the Merlin died.


I had a little more trouble with the Rifter. My stupid repper wouldn't activate even though it was only 92% damaged. It took me a moment to realise that my guns were also not working. Capped out! Well, there was a lot going on. That's my excuse anyway.

I set my drones on the Rifter and manually activated the guns when possible. If he hadn't been a new player I would certainly have died.

But I didn't.


The Rifter pilot convoed me after the fight. Naturally I sent him the lecture link - but he had already read it! What's more, being an avid reader of the thread he KNEW I would be the Comet pilot and was actually warping in to help me!

I felt bad then. Under the circumstances I reckon it would have been much better if he'd managed to kill me. Anyway, it was a great little skirmish regardless.

Next time out I was watching (isn't it funny how informative dscan is when you get used to it?) an Ishkur hunting through the same systems that I was prowling through. I spotted him on short scan and had loitered long enough to ID the pilot. Hmm, the name looks familiar... Aha! He's the pilot of Atron and pod fame from post #176 (! Definitely gotta get him now.

He was clearly heading back down the pipe toward Ish so I hopped ahead and quickly switched to an Enyo in my home station. By the time I undocked, my intended victim had already entered the system. Even though there was nothing yet on scan I initiated warp to the Small plex, thinking it the most likely target for an Ishkur to start with.

I landed just after him. He did not have enough time to get clear and I snared him good. However, shortly after I started on him a neutral Hookbill landed on top of us. I think he was expecting us to be inside the plex and no doubt got a shock when he was scrammed and webbed by the Ishkur! I think the Ishkur knew that his own ship was lost and figured that he might as well take someone with him.

I quickly switched my single faithful Accy (yes, Hobbie has been ditched for a different damage type now that drones have been rebalanced) just to get on the Hookbill mail and watched both ships drop fast.

And then I hatched a cunning plan! I watched the Hookbill carefully and, when his hull was low, quickly switched my guns over. He popped in a single volley - a total of 239 damage received - and I stole his mail! Then I switched straight back to the Ishkur and, adding insult to injury, killed him too.


Haha! I linked the Ishkur pilot the Hookbill mail out of courtesy but for some reason he didn't respond. Unfortunately, I didn't get either pod but I did get a video of it for your enjoyment.


P.S. I have decided to add annotations to some of the new videos to describe what I am trying to do during the fight for noobs. I don’t think they appear on mobile so if they annoy you watch them there.