Friday, March 8, 2013

Don't forget your drones.

I had the chance to do some sightseeing with thirty or so of my closest friends last night. We bounced up, down, and all around looking for a fight. Our mighty frigate ball blobbed some poor fellow who had gotten his Hurricane stuck in a bubble. With a Cynabal and Vagabond-heavy gang being the only people we could find to fight, the decision was made to turn homeward and see what could be found on the other side.

We'd gotten nearly halfway home when we found what seemed to be a much better fight. The new gang still had frigate-killers, but in lesser numbers than we might have faced before. Needless to say, most of our fleet end up going home with less ship than they'd had when they left. I myself played the part of hero-tackler before I was rapidly de-shipped. Thanks to my early death, I missed out on most of the spectacle but got my pod home safe and sound.

While we killed more than we lost in terms of ISK (barely), most of the fleet packed it in for the night, having had their fun and excitement. Those of us remaining chose to re-ship to something heavier in order to keep our firepower close to what we'd had before. Since I'd yet to fly something in null that wasn't a T1 or T2 logistics cruiser, my hangar was rather devoid of anything with weapons. Given my extremely low number of Gunnery skill points, my selection was rather limited.

Being incapable of fitting any T2 guns, the only weapons I could find to put on my new Stabber Fleet Issue was of the artillery flavor. Meta 3. Needless to say, I was not impressed by the available selection, but I suppose that's what I get for shopping at Null-Sec and Co. instead of Jita-Mart. Thankfully, I found the rest of what I was looking for at prices that weren't completely ridiculous.

Off we went again, moving in the other direction from where we'd initially gone. Our scout eventually caught up to a gang that had gone into a bit of a dead-end. There was a secondary exit point, but it would have taken them many more jumps to get home. We hoped, since they had numerical superiority, that they would choose to come at us instead of going around. We raced to get to the choke point, getting there just in time for our scout to tell us that they were moving out of the pocket.

Their first attempt to break out went rather poorly, and set the trend for the rest of their evening. While the majority of our fleet waited on the other side of the gate, we had a few smaller ships jump in as bait. When the enemy fleet agressed upon arrival, the rest of our fleet moved in and immediately began to tackle anything that hadn't yet fled the grid. Thanks to my sensor booster and scan resolution script, I was able to help one of our bait ships out by taking over the tackle on the biggest thing left on the field, an Omen. He melted quickly enough, and we began to scoop loot as fast as we could.

If it took a lot longer than usual to clear a field that only had three wrecks, it was due to the astounding number of drones the opposing gang had left behind. Querying our scout provided an answer. The majority of the opposing gang had been flying the new Gallente destroyer: the Algos. Since anyone who's read a ship-balancing devblog in the last 6 months has the Destroyers skill trained to 5, it can be a nasty opponent either solo or in gangs.

I can only assume that their FC panicked somewhat when he saw local begin to spike, because the majority of their fleet had already warped off by the time I loaded grid. If they had stuck around to fight, it could have gone poorly for my side, given the sheer number of drones that would have been on us while we raced to chase down each and every Algos.

Once we'd finished scooping all the drones, we pulled back to other side of the gate and waited for them to try again. A large portion of their DPS had vanished into our cargo holds, so we prepared for them to try to simply jump the gate and get away before we could lock them. That worked for a good many of their fleet. We only had a couple frigates with us, so we were forced to settle for only killing three as they made a break for home. Too slow to keep up with them, we too turned for home once again.

We came across a small gang that had bubbled one of the gates we'd passed through earlier. They were a good distance off, having seen the size of our fleet, but they made the mistake of trying to poach a straggler. The gutsy frigate pilot that had tackled the Omen earlier repeated his feat, and managed to snag the opposing gang's Scimitar when it drifted too close. He managed to stay alive long enough for our fleet to get back through the gate and burn the 70km to take over the tackle. In fact, he managed to live long enough for our two T1 logis to lock him up and apply reps. Most of their gang ran, but the Vagabond that had failed to kill our hero Dramiel stuck around just long enough to see the Scimi melt.

Why the name of the post? Well, it's something I heard from the FC all night. Since we were in a small gang, we had to maximize our firepower. That meant we launched drones any time we were holding a gate for more than a few seconds. Having drones assigned to a fast-locking frigate could have given us a vital head start in a DPS race. It applies to the Algos fleet we fought, too. If they'd stayed and fought, they had a good chance of winning. Even after losing a couple ships trying to get away, they still had a good chance if they hadn't left their drones behind.

- Sam.

Fake Edit: On a separate note, I'm rather pleased at how effective my artillery/MWD/sensor booster/dual point Stabber Fleet Issue was. It's an odd fit, but it worked perfectly for the situations I ended up facing. Another successful bright idea. I must be getting better at this whole internet spaceships thing. Kill-board efficiency of 99% for March, too. Wait, WHAT?

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