Thursday, 14 July 2011
Vengeance et alia v Dramiel et alia
I tend to wake pretty early in the summer; once the sun's up I just can't stay asleep, so I often have some time to kill before work in the mornings. Sometimes, this means I log on to Eve in a timezone that I don't often see.
While early morning (Europe) is not a busy time in New Eden, I do get to see Tuskers that I otherwise would not meet or fly with. On this particular morning I was the only one online, so I went on a short roam, but it seemed that all of Verge Vendor was asleep.
Coming back to Hevrice, I warped to one of my favorite hunting safes and began getting ready for my day while watching local. One by one a few Tuskers logged on and things began to pick up.
In addition to two other Tuskers active in local, a number of new faces appeared. A quick chat in corp told us that we were the Vengeance, Taranis and Slicer, whereas the Dram and Tristran belonged to other pilots. There was an additional pilot in local that we could not pin down, but he might well be in a station.
The Dram and the Tristran appeared to be working together. At least, they often appeared together on scan, and neither seemed to have engaged the other. We formed a quick fleet, and our Taranis pilot, Arcuate, agreed to establish initial point on the Dram.
Finding the Dram was not hard; he was looking for a fight just as much as we were. When Arcuate jumped into the belt the Dram was 100km off, but immediately started burning towards him. The distance closed very quickly, and Arcuate called "point" over Vent. Etuura, in the Slicer, and I both began warping to Arc's position.
The Tristran landed before we did, and he started to engage Arc. Etuura landed next, and established secondary point on the Dram; we needed to burn that ship down as fast as we could.
It turned out, though, that the Dram was speed tanked only, and with two fast ships on him he was going down quickly. As I dropped out of warp I faced a painful decision; get in on the Dram kill and risk the Tristran warping off, or miss out on the Dram and make sure the Tristran did not get away.
Cursing the ill fortune that would see me miss out on a killmail, I pointed the Tristran and moved into orbit, opening fire with my rockets. I had Gremlin loaded for the Dram, which was probably not great against the Tristrans armor. Given that it was a about to be a 3v1, though, dps was unlikely to be a problem.
The Dram went down, and the Tristran quickly followed. I managed to snag the pod, and I contacted the pilot for a ransom. Our conversation was just getting started when a Pilgrim landed.
I suspect he started warping in as soon as we landed on the Dram and Tristran, but his slower warp speed meant that he got there too late to save his friends. Not too late to avenge them, though.
Here things get a little fuzzy for me; so much happened at once. I had been tasked with negotiating the ransom, and the pilot had agreed that he was interested in buying his pod. Things had just become a lot more complicated, though, and I hesitated. I didn't want to blow up a ransom if the situation was under control, so I asked for direction and I was told to simply pod him. So I did.
However, the hesitation had cost me, and the Pilgrim had me pointed. My cap simply evaporated, and his drones began targeting me. I'm not sure whether the other two had warped out and then returned, or whether they had not yet hit warp when I announced that I was pointed. What I do know is that they did not abandon me to my fate, and for that I am very grateful.
Instinctively, I moved into a tight orbit around the Pilgrim. In hindsight this was not optimal; it brought my speed down and that made it easier for the drones to hit me. However, I was just reacting at this point - a tight orbit seemed like the aggressive thing to do.
I then started blowing his drones out of the sky as fast as I could. Gods, I love rockets. I also managed to maintain a point on the Pilgrim, which was soon followed up by points from my corp-mates. I tried to stay alive, and they tried to burn down the Pilgrim. Assuming the Pilgrim was neuting them too, that can't have been easy; both of them required cap for their weapons.
Indeed, it was slow going for us, but even slower going for him. To everyone's surprise, I actually seemed to be putting up a fair old fight, wiping out wave after wave of drones. I even managed to throw a few rockets at the Pilgrim between waves.
Still, the outcome was by no means assured. The tide finally turned in our favour when Ka Jolo logged in. I can't remember for the life of me what he was flying (although his killmails from that morning show he was flying a Drake), and he was several jumps out, but when he landed at the fight the Pilgrim decided that his chance of making it out was now close to zero. Ka Jolo negotiated a ransom - 100 million ISK - and we let him go.
What a morning!
This fight would have been a lot tougher if the Dram had not blown his approach. Despite being speed fit, he approached right into Arc's scram range. Perhaps he thought his momentum would carry him through, or perhaps he misjudged their relative speed. Which ever it was, he turned a tough fight into a savage beating.
This, in turn, condenmned his buddy in the Tristran. The Dram simply needed to kite long enough for his backup to arrive and the odds would have been very even. By blowing it while his friend was in mid warp, he forced the Tristran to land in what was effectively a 3v1.
That meant that by the time the Pilgrim landed, all three of us could focus on it exclusively. A Pilgrim is a dangerous ship, but not because of it's dps. Instead, it simply shuts down the ships around it. If the Dram and Tristran had been able to contribute dps on top of the the Pilgrim's neuts, I doubt any of us would have made it out with hull intact.
So it seems to me that the Dram pilot did not properly appreciate his role. All he had to do was act as an interceptor; establish point and survive until the fleet lands. Perhaps he was simply caught up with the awesomness of his ship, but whatever his reasons, he started a chain of fail that proved very expensive for him and his friends.
I have been discussing Vengeance fits with other Tuskers, and we largely agree that dual rep fits are not the way to go; it is far to easy for the enemy to disengage, and our dps suffers.
However, there is a general trend towards fitting for dps over tank. Without trying too hard, a maxed skill Vengeance can rep 90 ehps (with a deadspace repper), leaving it with a dps of 150+. However, my fit reps about 120 ehps (143 with a deadspace repper), and has a dps of about 105 with perfect skills.
What we have not discussed, though, is the inadvertant effect that this has on your buffer. The Vengeance is resist tanked, so lowering the hps also lowers the buffer. In this case, even though my repper was shut down, my buffer was sufficient to keep me alive.
I also managed to keep point, despite the Pilgrim's best efforts. My cap skills are good, but not maxed out, and I only have a T1 cap rig on my ship. With maxed skills and an a T2 rep, I suspect that most ships without a neut bonus would have a very hard time shutting down any of my modules - even my repper.
I won't know until I get my skills up and test it, but I will gladly trade some dps for being highly resistant to neuting. I'll have to mess about with things until I strike the right balance.