Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trust in your armor but remember...

"But when a stronger man than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils." - Luke 11:22 King James Bible

Since I've been on vacation I've been putting an absurd amount of time in EVE - even by my standards - but most of my efforts have been leaning towards perfecting drone and armor skills.  Gameplay has consisted of transport runs, spending a large amount of time docked, trading and making "Rules of Acquisition" jokes in my head, and carebearing the living shit out of L4 missions.

When on combat missions I try to adhere to a checklist that I've developed over the last few months.  Simple stuff really:

  • always have an escape plan, preferably more than one 
  • align, align, align
  • only commit to combat when I have tactical advantage
    • I tend to rely on range and speed.  With my current skills and gear I have an effective combat range of over 120km (which puts me well out of range of 75% of the NPCs I come across) and can juice my Ishtar up to 599m/s
    • I only "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!" aka launch attack drones when I have tanked the aggro.  No sense in letting my expensive drones get whomped on for no reason.
  • I still strongly adhere to my own rule of "cap stability above all else".  This is part of the reason I lean towards a passive armor tank.  If I can run all the equipment I have without having to run out of juice or keeping an eye on cap during combat.
  • Minimize risk, maximize reward.  Rule of Acquisition #125 "You can't make a deal if you're dead."  Screw that "Fortune favors the bold" malarkey.
  • Never go AFK when you're undocked.  Okay, I'll take a pee or grab a beer while in warp.  Sometimes.
  • "The problem isn't that you're paranoid.  It's that you're not paranoid enough."
  • Never rely on gear when skills would suit you better.
This last maxim has been on my mind lately since I nearly lost an Ishtar during a mission.  As an armor tanker (can't always rely on speed and range when a half dozen battleships spawn within twenty-five klicks) I often say a well-worn Warhammer 40K line, "Look to your battlegear and it will protect you, as your armour guards your life."  If you think that's dorky you should hear me recite the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear when I'm running cargo through lowsec or in a situation like this:

"I will not fear.  Fear is the mind-killer."
Granted, that engagement wasn't that bad since I had tactical control of the situation but the unknown can always happen (a la "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.")  The engagement I almost lost my favorite ship in involved a large number of frigates and sentry towers that spawned less than five klicks from my position.  I was careless and on the back-foot and for a split second of blind panic I saw my armor melt under withering fire and get into deep structure before my warp drive engaged, whisking me to the closest station.  Now before you EVE players take me to task for not consulting first, I prefer not to use that site because I feel it takes a large element of risk out of missions.  I enjoy not exactly knowing what I'm heading into (caveat: I usually decline Amarr missions simply because the risk is too high for my tastes) and relying on myself to keep my ship in one piece.  Hell, sometimes I'll scout a site with a shuttle first (especially if I can't come in at range).  It's part of the fun for me.

So why my new concern about battlegear and having to rework some of  my approaches to combat?  Primarily because of my near loss but secondly because I recently broke down and purchased a Dominix.  She's actually not as ugly as I thought she was gonna be but she handles like a box of turds with four broken shopping cart wheels.  If I had been in the Domi when I got short-range jumped I would have lost an expensive ship.  She just doesn't handle well and her speed is garbage.  However, she's a monster tank.  I've read some shop talk about how tough she is and can weather a huge amount of punishment.  That being said, I don't trust her as my battlegear.  Then again, I've been truckin around in a HAC for at least six months and feel really comfortable in cruisers and maybe it's time to shake myself up and try something new.

Another downside to the Domi, and a core issue that's keeping me from moving to the BS, is the painful (nearly pathetic) target lock time she has - against all ships.  It must be similar to the differences between the Enterprise and the Defiant.  Frankly, the Ishtar is a far superior drone boat, considering bonuses, speed, smaller signature, base resistances suck, etc. etc. etc.  However, I like taking the Domi out for a spin because she's such a big moosey and she can really be a jack of all trades.  She can effectively tank while drones dish out the DPS and run salvage in combat.  Not the capabilities of a Marauder but still...

I'm continuing work on my Domi and if I get her to where I feel I trust her I'll post a fit here.  Hope all of you are well.  Fly safe.  o7

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