Going forward, there will be slight change to the opening pictures of my Punisher Plan posts. Initially, I had intended to have a different Punisher picture for each post, and I thought that 20 Punishers was about doable. If, however, I am actually going to survive some of my fights (*gasp*), then I may well need rather more than 20 images. This being the case, I'm now going to start each pvp post with a picture of my opponents ship, rather than my own.
3 Dual Light Pulse 2 (Navy Multifrequency & Scorch)
Small Neut 1
1 MN Afterburner 1
Warp Scrambler 1
Small Armor Repair System 1
Adaptive Nano Plating 2
Damage Control 2
200mm Rolled Tungsten
Small Auxiliary Power Relay
Another day, another high sec roam. I began cruising the busier belts, and in the course of my travels I came upon an Arbitrator mining away. Now, I know from experience that rigging an Arbitrator to mine does not require sacrificing one iota of dps, so I very nearly left him be; my past experiences against cruisers has not been encouraging. However, one thing gave me pause; he only had 4 mining drones out.
As former drone user, having less than 5 drones out screams poor drone skills. This being the case, I thought it was worth the risk. On the other hand, I also decided to orbit at nearly 6000m, as this would put me near the edge of scram range, so if things went wrong I had a chance to bail.
So I flipped the can, and moved into my chosen orbit. The Arbitrator obligingly started targeting me, and I returned fire (he had opened with his missile launcher). He was quite slow to get his combat drones out, and things went really, really well for me. I was taking only minor damage, and he was half way through his armor. I love Scorch!
However, while I was on the "backswing" of my orbit, he decided it was time to get out, and engaged his afterburners. I tried to turn in time, but it was no use. He broke free of scram range and warped off!
I was pretty choked at having let him get away, and I spent the rest of my aggression timer searching the other belts for him, but I was pretty sure he had gone to a station to repair. Eventually I moved on.
Later, though, I came back through that system and found the Arbitrator back at the same belt. Overjoyed at the second chance, I flipped the can and hit orbit. This time I was nice and close; he was not getting away this time!
Except, he did not need to; the fight went quite differently. He immediately started neuting me, trying to shut me down. I noticed right away, however, so I was able to burn out of his scram range and warp out.
I quickly docked (for the free shield repair) and went back for more, but he had left the system.
Post battle review:
This encounter was a huge learning experience for me, largely because it was so full of mistakes.
First, I let my target get away. I saw it happening, but I couldn't prevent it. Suddenly, all those agility skills seem far more valuable than they did before. Sometimes, you need your ship to respond right now. While I won't be able to train them any time soon, navigation skills just went up the priority ladder.
However, I also failed to look at where he was going. I had the right to combat. If I had immediately taken a guess at his location and warped to zero, I might have been able to get the kill.
Then I wasted my aggression timer searching the belts when it was quite obvious that he was not coming out until the timer expired. If I had left the system for a few minutes, though, he might have ventured out early. I got so involved in trying to find him, I did not stop and think of how I might lure him out.
Round two was quite different, and it was only after the fact that I realised why. In the first battle I had outranged his neut! An obvious point to most pilots, perhaps, but I have never been able to control the range before, and it is only since moving to T2 guns that I have been able to deal respectable dps outside 3000m. Quite by accident, though, I had done exactly the right thing when we first clashed. If my nav skills had been better, or I had been orbiting a little close (but still outside neut range), I would have easily won our encounter.
Despite noticing immediately that I was being neuted, and responding appropriately, I still could have done more in our second encounter. I was only at half cap when I got out of neut range, and I had taken very little armor damage. If, instead of fleeing, I had kept range, I could probably have turned the battle around. Instead, I got rattled and bailed. Not blowing up is great, but winning is better.
Lessons for the future:
Scorch range > scram range > neut range. This is awesome, and I need to learn to work with this. Nav skills will help, but are beyond my immediate reach.
When faced with a fleeing target, pay attention to where they are going. I might be able to catch them there.
Finally, I need to Keep It Together. I'm throwing away kills just because I get rattled.