Monday, 28 February 2011

Punisher 6.5

The fit:

3 Gatling Pulse Lasers 2 (Navy Multifrequency & Scorch)
5W Infectious Power Malfunction

Cold-gas Arcjet Thrusters
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Inhibitor

Small Armor Repair System 1
Adaptive Nano Plating 2
Damage Control 2
200mm Rolled Tungsten

Because I'm mid move, and my current Punisher is rigged, I did not have it to hand when I decided to take a break from hauling and roam around Molden Heath.

I took the opportunity to try a Gatling Pulse build, and I noticed that I might be able to fit an Energised Adaptive Nano Plating 2 instead of the ANP 2. I did not have one with me, but if it does fit then the GPL version would actually have a better tank, as well as better tracking and cap usage, all for a little less range and dps.

The hunt:

Notionally, I was making bookmarks, but I usually do that in a speed rigged Executioner. Instead, I brought my Punisher and hoped to find a fight along the way. I was not disappointed.

I was making gate safes around Oddelulf, and I noticed that my scanner kept showing another Punisher. I was jumping all over the place, so I could only conclude that it was following me. Deciding that I wanted to be caught, I warped to the sun and waited.

Sure enough, the Punisher arrived a few minutes later. He had warped in at 100km, perhaps assuming that I would be trying to avoid pursuit. As I had actually warped to 0km, because I wanted to be found, he was quite a way off.

I was very careful not to move, as I did not want to scare him away. I had my first look at the pilot, a 2009 character named Fuzzyface with a security status of -7. A professional pirate, then. Given the discrepancy in skill points and experience, I assumed this was a losing fight

Fuzzyface then warped out, and I guessed he was going to warp back in at zero. I hit my afterburners, and moved away from the warp in point. No sense letting him land right on top of me. I was sure to stop before he got back, though, and I resume my "afk" behaviour.

Again, I had guessed correctly, and Fuzzyface warped in on my old location. This time he turned straight towards me, and hit the gas.

He was coming in fast (or at least as fast as a Punisher can), and he was coming in directly, as I'm guessing he thought I would flee. This being the case, I knew that he was going to overshoot before having to stop and reverse course. His abrupt change in direction would force his speed to drop, and this would let me establish an orbit of my choosing, which was fine by me.

On the way in, Fuzzyface had been blasting away with something I did not recognise. It might have been a blaster (wtf?), or it could have been the Conflagration - I've never actually seen that fired. Either way, I knew his tracking would not be as good as mine, so I had set my orbit to 1km. Because I was moving in so close I did NOT turn my afterburners on, because you never use your full speed in close anyway; and I had a better use for the cap.

Turning on my point and opening fire, my combat log showed me that we were both landing solid hits, so I moved in to 500m. This was about the limit of my tracking, but it was above the limit of his. Most of his shots were missing, or hitting for only a few damage. Most of my shots were hitting solidly, with a few glancing shots, as the tracking fluctuated.

I also turned on my neut. I've put a few skill levels into my neut since I last used it, and I was also running a more cap efficient ship; Gatling Pulse Lasers are easy on cap, and my afterburners were turned off. I was confident I could win a cap war.

From there, things went pretty perfectly. He was doing very little damage, and I had enough extra cap that I could keep myself topped up. He was capped out (or close enough that he could not use his repper, if he had one), and I was chewing through his armor. If nothing changed, the fight was mine.

Of course, things did change. Fuzzyface called for help, and help arrived in the form of a Rapier flown by his corp mate. I saw the thing warp in, and thanked whatever peverse part of my nature had led me to move a cheeky 30km off the warp in point. I overheated my weapon rack and prayed that I would at least pop Fuzzyface before the Rapier got me.

Unfortunately, the Rapier was artillery fit, and so the range suited it just fine, and he started pounding me with his guns. Surprisingly, I probably could have tanked that, as Fuzzyface was dealing no meaningful damage. The Warrior 2s, though, were another matter. I exploded just as Fuzzyface was about to go into structure.

I saw it coming, though, so I was spamming the warp button like there was no tomorrow and I managed to get my pod out.

Post battle review:

Despite losing the battle, I felt really good about the whole thing.

First, it justified my move to Molden Heath. I was out for about 20 minutes (albeit on a weekend) and stumbled into a fight. Excellent.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, my two month old character went up against a 2 year old pirate and nearly won. I had anticipated nearly every move he made, I had taken control of the fight, and I was smacking him around pretty badly.

In fact, I had forced him to do the equivalent of calling in an air strike to win a knife fight ("Dude, this noob is kicking my ass. Please save me!"). That's why I put the Rapier picture at the top of the page. I fought a Punisher, but it was a Rapier that killed me.

Moral victory aside, I still ended up on the wrong side of a killmail, and there were some things I could have done better. My move off the warp in point was arbitrary; if it helped, it was accidental. But in the future I will pay more attention to where the warp in point is, and try and plan accordingly.

It also occured to me, after the fact, that I did not check to see if Fuzzyface's point was still active. I assumed it was, but as I had been neuting him for our entire fight, it could have fallen off. If so, I could have warped out when the Rapier warped in. I fixated too much on the new arrival and I stopped paying sufficient attention to my target.

I am pretty happy with the fit I used, though. While I am sure there will be cases where the additional range on the DLP really pays off, the extra tracking was golden here, and as I tend to use my cap as a weapon, the lower cap requirements of the GPL fit well with my overall strategy. If I can fit an EANM2 as well (due to the GPL's lower cpu requirements) then I will almost certainly make the switch to GPL once my stock of DLP runs out.

Lessons for the future:

This is Molden Heath, with real pirate corps. They have friends nearby, so plan for that.

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