Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Day 269 : Space Feng Shui

Fitting Fu, Space Feng Shui, call it what you will, it's the art of putting your own fits together with flight tactics in mind. I'm learning it slowly. I take occasional fits from various bloggers for various purpose but I want to put together my own PVP fits in this new, experimental combateer phase. It's my policy of learning by burning. Learning by rote isn't good enough for me, I need to experience the process of fitting in order to think through the consequences as I fit. You don't sit and ponder the concepts of "kiting vs brawling" and "active vs buffer" when you grab a "PVP blaster" fit from Battle Clinic, and roll it out as fast as possible like  Henry Ford In Space. I need to etch the reasoning on my mind, it's the way I think. I have mild trouble with short term memory so this methodology helps plug stuff into long term memory and, by the way, what's your name again? I forgot.

Anyway, I learned a meta thing about fitting today and that is to have a clear mind while doing it. Having a clear mind doesn't happen after four hours sleep instead of eight. It doesn't get any better by the evening.

I started out the day as usual, shift some orders, line up some jobs, look for something to do that doesn't feel like a second job. I went out hunting for new markets and dropped off some experiments, dropped by Halaima to watch some miner bumpers in the ice field for a while. Then for some reason I decided to load up the Nautilus, my Algos destroyer, and go to null. It was quiet. Not too quiet either. I didn't laugh as I was suddenly ganked or anything of the sort. I did a little ratting and some navigation and scanning practice but didn't see any of the other pilots that appeared in Local until the end of my roam.

Considering a trip home I jumped towards a low sec entry gate, having assured myself there was no one waiting on my side of it. Just before the flash of transit the Overview shifted. An Iteron V. A T1 hauler running around NPC null on it's own, headed into low sec. Following my jump, and assuming that the hauler would have cancelled his on seeing me jump, I swiftly turned and burned gatewards. Just before the flash of transit the Overview  updated. An Iteron V....... My incandescent rage was a thing to behold. I headed home before a building desire to leap into the first camp I could find took hold. I'll be back. T1 haulers in NPC Null you have been warned. I'd normally think twice, it's combat I'm after not sitting ducks, barring this bored whim. Now that whim has turned into a grudge.

I decide that a roam will purge the rage. Already I'm in a bad state to fly. Totally knackered from lack of sleep and pumped up on frustration from seeing a loot piñata fly by me twice in a minute. This isn't the frame of mind to go out learning.

I decide to attempt a Tristan fit. I have reasonable drone skills, have wanted to fly the Tristan since it became  a frigate drone boat, and am still intrigued by my defeat the other day. I've had trouble fitting the Tristan before and today was no different. I fit it as a kiter, top T2 rails and the drones. When I get down to the last few slots I'm considering the need for a web which has far too low range to be any good for my proposed tactics but might allow me to build the range I need. Fitting constraints get in the way and instead of sitting back and contemplating I drop any old thing in there. Yep. This is gonna work. Both modules I drop in I haven't really used before so I'll be learning something (my subconscious rage monster announces smugly). Honestly. Part of me actually thought that. It's shitfit flight time.

There aren't many people about in low sec either so it takes a few jumps to find a suitable candidate, a Rifter in a small plex. I should say here that my general roaming skills have improved. There is more logic in my travel and my hunting than there was before. It wouldn't be difficult to improve on these skills. My roaming tactic before was called "Eyeballs To The Screen, Vibrating-In-Terror".

The Rifter warps out as I maneuver for range,  and I experience a flash of the earlier Iteron V rage. Luckily another ship drops in. Another Tristan! I'm going to learn something new after all. It's a QCATS ship. Seeing this and suddenly recalling my fitting resigns me to defeat. Bad Move. I make range but he closes fast and I'm suddenly where I don't want to be. My response? Navigation. Bugger all effect that has too. I don't even switch ammo to the lower range version I'm carrying to compensate. I attempt some manuevers to regain my range but it doesn't work. I fail once more to overheat. This time I don't even overheat a single module! I've got worse! Essentially I do nothing good here. Not my finest hour. I contemplate storing my mid slots in the hold instead of fitting them. If I eject them at the right time there's a chance a pursuing assailant would be slowed by them and they'd be doing some good. Actually that's given me an idea.

My opponent was just under half armour when I popped I think. At 10% hull I'd already prepared for and focused on getting my pod out.

The "Fit-O-Shit" and my alarmingly more experienced opponent.


Lessons Learned

1. Don't fly angry
2. Don't fit angry, exasperated, tired, or randomly
3. NEVER resign yourself to defeat. NEVER EVER.
4. ALWAYS learn and practice something.
5. AMO: Ammo/Midslots/Overheat. I need better mnemonic skills.
6. Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think, enjoy yourself while you're still..... no. I'm kinda joking, but actually not. Sorry for the singing.


1. I got the pod out again.
2. I lasted longer than I thought I would against a more experienced opponent.
3. Despite my flaws, I still learned.
4. Unbelievably I still enjoyed it. A GF indeed. I was a lot calmer by the time I got out. It was a refreshing experience after the Dull of Null and playing Hide the Hauler down there.
5. Some awareness was still there, I attempted to navigate in a fight. Fights aren't lasting longer particularly but I think I've enough control of the adrenaline to not have time distorted perception.
6. I'm still ready to keep learning.

More upsides than down really.

Following a tip in the comments from the other day, I'm making a visual guide I can pin above my monitor. It will remind me of the options when the battered wastes of my mind can no longer cope with decision.

I'm thinking I should spend more time in EFT rather than my bad habit of fitting mainly to what is stored in my hangar at the time. I'm building up reserves of modules but a lack of consideration for some utility items and a lack of meta items is causing problems. Someone add ship spinning to EFT!

EVE Track of the Day

Feng  Shui - Gnarls Barkley (what else?)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Day 264: The Deadly Lure of Choice

I'm now dedicated to practising a few scraps a week. I didn't have much time tonight and I was feeling a little sketchy from being out late on the date last night. Nerves plus lager plus empty stomach is the arithmetic of feeling like crap come the afternoon.

I head out. I'm about to learn three things.

1. Stick with your instincts.
2. Fighting Tristans is like kicking a wasps nest.
3. Stay Calm.

I roll through a couple of low sec systems, arcing over the northern Essence chain as usual. There doesn't seem to be anyone around and some of my safes are so safe that not only would no one ever find me, I'd never see another ship again. I take a couple of risks and zip down to some FW plexes to scan the inside. Not much is going on but three jumps later I locate a Tristan. Ah ha!

I've always wanted to try a Tristan out in PVP but the fitting constraints end up annoying me every time I try it. I figure I can learn some stuff by trying to kick one in the knackers. Yeah. It's that learning by burning thing again.

I warp into the plex and drop right on the Tristan. A single K and I'm good for my T2 ions. Flick on the afterburner and head in, there's no point worrying about the approach at this range. Well until the Tristan turns out to be way more agile than I thought. He's beginning to pull range and with blasters that means I'm in the shit. Here's my first mistake. I figure I'd take out the drones instead. I flick to my overview tab that has drones on it and CTRL click like a crazy man. I turn off the guns, reselect a drone and turn them back on again, cursing the delay. I hit nothing. NOTHING. I figured Ions would track fast enough. I've kicked a wasps nest and I'm trying to pick single wasps out of the crowd. Suddenly I think I'm Mr Miyagi and my Ions are chopsticks. They are not. It's like swatting with a cricket bat. Oh, I think, I'll switch back to the Tristan. That's right. In frigate 1v1 I switched targets and dithered like an elderly grandmother choosing which fruit scone she'd like. Round about the same level of combat effectiveness as that too as it happens.

The Tristan has a decent range on me now and I don't think I'm going to get back in there. By some miracle of screen clickage I get back there and overheat the guns. It's a death race now and I'll be dead before they burn out. Webbed and scrammed I'm not leaving here until one of us is atomised. Webbed...... webbbed...... DEAR HOLY CHRIST I haven't webbed him. THE WEB IS NOT ON. I didn't even web the drones. Honestly, I should just fly with empty mid slots and enjoy the breeze that blows through them as I speed through the black.

Of course I was toast. It was too late. The fight had us both down in structure. A real tussle that ended in me making a nice little explosive sound. Close but no cigar.

So what did I do wrong?

  • I changed my mind. I should have stuck with the Tristan and tanked the drones.
  • I kicked a Tristan. It's a five drone hive these days people. Take note. I'll be fitting one however annoying it gets. The kill mail says all Rail damage. Not sure what to make of that.
  • I didn't stay calm. With the web running I'd of had him, why the hell wasn't the web on? When range got a little dubious I should have considered switching to Null ammo as a bit of a surprise but it should never have come to that.

What did I do right?

  • I overheated the repairer a little early but around the right time. I could have tanked the drones with it and left the laughed in the face of the Tristans rails. An overheated Incursus repper is a thing to behold. Then again, it did give me enough time to make several very bad decisions indeed.
  • I overheated the guns at the right time. They were still viable, just, at the end of the fight. They had a killing blow in them and I didn't cripple myself early on.
  • I got my pod out. Some post fight awareness remained. I've made the jump to understanding you can die TWICE in an EVE fight.
  • For all my mistakes I had time to make tactical decisions through the haze of adrenaline. Completely incorrect tactical decisions to be sure, but at least I had the awareness to make them this time. All my previous fights have been seen through a veil of Red Mist that nullified conscious thought.

I exchanged 'gfs' with the pilot in question. It was close and a damn fine victory for him whatever my mistakes since I was flying a T2 bullet. I hope he enjoyed my loots, and the thrill. He earned them. I learned more in thirty seconds than I have in a while, and did enough right that the victory truly belongs to my opponent.

Thanks to the pilot in question, and thank to Gedos who shouted me just to say hi afterwards. O7 guys. Onwards and upwards! Here is the link


EVE Track of the Day

Try Not to Breathe - REM

Monday, 4 March 2013

Day 262 : Guilt Trip to Heydieles

I'm done with industry. We've parted ways. It's been an odd month in Real Life which meant it was perfect for the clicking of many, many things in order to submit Invention jobs. It was a perfect month to be drifting down space lanes while composing playlists on Spotify or listening to EVE Radio. I had a couple of hairy moments when DJ Wiggles played the targetting sound but otherwise it was a nice and dull end to Winter. Winter is going. It's the new thing.

It was dull though. I'm loading up the weapon skills finally and considering my next step. One way or another I'll try my hand at spring time idiocy, I'll be the gamboling lamb of low sec. That reminds me of the old Waylander quote, that might be a nice aim.

Once I was a lamb, playing in a green field. Then the wolves came. Now I am an eagle and I fly in a different universe.’
‘And now you kill the lambs,’ whispered Dardalion.
Waylander chuckled and turned over.
‘No, priest. No one pays for lambs.’

Perhaps I do have an aim after all. It'll take some skilling after all the time I've wasted at the factory day after day but the queue is looking after me.

It's Monday night though, no time to be haring off on wild suicide missions before some elementary basics are covered. I decide to fit out a couple of ships. I like doing this in game. More time to spin my gorgeous gank mobiles. However, Monday and the distraction of a Tuesday which has a blind date in it collude in a way that results in me buying a rig from a low sec station. It's a low sec area I know quite well. I am pretty sure I got blown up there when a couple of months old while being amazed at the bounties of the sitting ducks. I'm sorry Serpentis Admirals, or whatever those fat boys were called.

Anyway. I decide to go get it. I've got a stored safe there that I can scan the station from. I hit undock. Let's go. It is going to be a terrifying and bumpy road.

It isn't.

It's Monday night.

There's not a single flashy in system and no one outside of a station or POS as far as some incredulous Dscanning could determine. I dock up and grab the rig and fit it. Like all my other fits it is a "shit fit" but who cares? I call them loss learners. I could go with conventional wisdom and fit the ships according to internet doctrine or I could fit to my own theory and witness the testing in person. Like Oppenheimer taking a vacation in Hiroshima.

I undock and leap to my safe point. I do some scans. No one. Sod this. Where is all this adrenaline going to go anyway? I need my sleep, I've got to be intelligent and chatty tomorrow. I warp to the nearest plex and scan it. I'm shocked. Someone is actually flying around in this system. There is a Rifter in there!

Before I can consider the situation I've already activated the gate. I've named my ship "Little Friend". I might even have muttered "say hello to my little friend" on the way through the gate. I'm in. Red mist descends. Spiral in. Time to die Mr Rifter Dude. Guns on, orbit achieved. No..... shield..... loss...... I did start to wonder what was happening at this point. The Rifter hadn't even fired back. There isn't much point wondering about stuff halfway through a fight with a frigate that isn't doing anything. There isn't enough of a fight to have a halfway. It's like the only place Zeno's paradox falls over. When you are halfway there you are actually at the end. It's that short.

Anyway. A slightly puzzled Red Mist in place, I torch the poor bastard and grab the loot and do a runner. No point hanging around waiting for people who fight back eh? I warp safe, flick on the 'burner and start flying out blackward while I check the kill. I'm not impressed by what I see. Which is essentially this


Even worse, the pilot is only hours old.

Even worse, for a Star Wars fan, I just shot down Yoda. He was having a bad Force day. I can deal with this. This is payback for Lucas for Jar Jar Binks. I'm still pissed off about it and praying daily at the small and slightly sinister altar I've set up to JJ.

It's the age of the pilot that gives me the guilt trip. Even gleefully soaring around the nearest belt and wasting the usual dumbass Serpentis battlecruiser doesn't alleviate it. How can I head to low sec in future and feel like this? I'm not doing Show Info on everyone I see. There isn't time. I feel like I've shot one of my own. I feel too bad to even mail the guy to see if he was an AFK alt, which I do suspect on some level. If anyone knows him then let me know and I'll send him a Rifter that actually has some guns on it.

In the end I log off to wrestle with the discovery that my conscience and code might well be disposable. So much for not killing the lambs. I had better invest in some mint sauce instead.

EVE Track of the Day

Lighsabre Cocksucking Blues - Mclusky