Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wish Fulfillment

Last night I got my wish. I was part of a fleet action, and notched some kills.

Earlier, I had gone to a largely deserted system with my ratting-fitted Brutix. I found a belt with two Gurista battleships and three ships called "Gurista Hauler". I start firing. The first battleship is nearly down, when my family comes into the room with plans to go out to dinner. Right now.

I tell them I'm going to be a little bit, so they start playing Rock Band, but I have 5 songs. I finish the battleships. It takes extra long, because my gank is still pretty poor, even though my tank is good, and one battleship, with half its hull gone, engages a microwarp drive or something and speeds back to the belt that I've chased it away from. I have to slowboat back and finish killing him. I have one song left.

So I target one of the Gurista Haulers and work him over. When he pops, I go over to take a look at the loot. There is over 8000 zydrine in the wreck, making it worth perhaps as much as 12 million ISK. OMG, I've hit the mother-lode!

However it's time to go. I go to a nearby moon and log off, hoping that the haulers will be there when I get back. Maybe even respawn.


However, that was not to be. When I come back, there is nothing in that belt, and not much in the other belts in system. I can't manage most anomalies out here yet, so now I need a plan.

I check the intel channels and alliance chat. Too Ducky has posted a fleet invitation with an inscrutable, to me, title. Something about Logistics. Too Ducky had recently bought a lot of the ammo I had put up for sale (I sell for more than you can get in Empire, but a lot less than anybody else out here), so I'm feeling quite positive about him. I had nothing better to do, so I joined. I was thinking the "Logistics" in the fleet posting meant this was some sort of escort fleet or something.

I was wrong.

It meant that we had an organized fleet with Logistics ships included. These ships are the "healers" of Eve, and they have other capabilities as well. We also have some very serious EW (Electronic Warfare) ships. I go to the meeting point, stopping to drop off the zydrine, which will mostly pay for the Brutix should I lose it.

Unfortunately, I'm not on the correct Teamspeak channel, and the fleet jumps through a jump bridge without me. I follow, but I'm too late to warp to the next bridge under the fleet's command. I have a map however, provided by my alliance, so I know where to find it.

Unfortunately, the location on the map is rough. I jump there and find I'm 100km away from the jump bridge. I slowly waddle over there, listening to my fleetmates kill a ship. I managed to get the the jump bridge about the time the Fleet Commander (FC), Too Ducky, calls a return. Sigh. I start heading back to our own territory. This was all in the Deklein region.

Compounding matters, the jump bridges that the rest of the fleet is trying to use have run out of fuel. Eventually we all gather back at a jump bridge and a new direction is decide upon. We will take on the campers in EC-P8R.

I've marked EC and Jita on the above map which shows part of the Lonetrek region. (Click the image for a better look). Any route from Jita, a major, perhaps the major trade hub in EVE, to the Pure Blind region (and hence to Deklein, where Skyforger and our allies reside must go through the systems circled. There are two routes, one through a long series of lowsec systems, including Aunenen, a notorious pirate camp. Or you can fly through Torrinos and then EC-P8R.

The system is constantly contested and camped. Last night, there were a total of perhaps 18-20 red flags (enemies of our alliance) and war targets (basically a mercenary corp that has been hired to help try to squeeze our alliance.)

We hold just outside EWOK. There is an enemy gate camp at the gate between EC-P8R and EWOK. We have some scouts in the system, but it looks tough. We could have a very hard time if we have to take them all on at once. Too Ducky switches to a covops so he can have a look for himself.

He looks things over and comes up with a plan. The enemy is somewhat spread out. There are some at each other gate in EWOK. There is a sling bubble off of the EC gate.

Eve has a rich and colorful set of jargon. In two months plus, I still haven't learned it all. A sling bubble is a bubble, a warp interdiction sphere. If you pass through it while you are warping, you will drop out of warp, and be unable to warp until you move out of it, using normal propulsion. Perfect for trapping and killing. If one of these bubbles is placed a ways off of a gate, along the line from another gate, it is known as a sling bubble. A classic gate camping technique.

However, the bubble means that Red's forces are further split. There are some at each gate, some at the bubble, and some in EC. FC tells our scouts EC to jump to the EWOK gate and sit there at zero (distance from gate) until they are aggressed upon.

This is similar to what happened in an earlier, small-gang lowsec action I was involved in. At zero to the gate, you can jump through the gate at any time. There is no technology in the game that can stop you from doing so. To get kill the ship sitting at zero you must either pop them before they can click the button, or try to catch them at the far side.

It's a tense moment. The scouts are locked, but not fired upon. A few more ships appear to jump through from EWOK to EC, they are going to try the one-volley technique.

This is what FC (Too Ducky) was waiting for. He calls that we are to jump into EWOK and warp immediately to the EC gate. We will hit a bubble. We will engage the bubble campers. He calls as first targets some of the tech 2 ships.

At this moment, I can imagine what's going on in the heads of the red fleet. Suddenly their system local is showing a massive influx of enemies, and they realize they've been baited. The enemy fleet scatters. We only manage to catch two ships at the bubble, another was nearly dead when it got away. I manage to target and fire on one enemy, adding my pathetic dps to my allies. We've split them, they have no way to form up and hit us with a concerted counter attack. Some poor slob in a drake warps to the gate in a Drake (Caldari battleship) and is popped by us. I get some shots off at it, too.

After catching our breath, we call it a day and leave the system. I have a fleet engagement under my belt and two "kills" to my name. My dps contribution is about one-sixth of the top dpsers on the two kills, so I have a lot of work to do.

In about 4 days, I'll be done with my armor tanking training, at which point it will be quite solid. I can already fit all T2 armor-tanking modules, I'm training Repair Systems V for that last extra kick to reppers. Not terribly useful in pvp, but handy for ratting.

Then I'll be turning to training up my gank. Getting to T2 guns on cruisers/battlecruisers is a tall order, it will take me perhaps 90 days. Battleships will take more, including the time to be able to actually fly a battleship. But in EVE, as with all MMORPG's, more DPS is always useful.



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