Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dramiel Roam #1

The hunt:

Suleiman had decided to organise a Dramiel roam through null sec. Few of us fly Dramiels in the Tuskers - we're space poor pirates who can't afford such things - but this was going to be a last opportunity to fly them before the coming nerf. Plus, it sounded completely awesome.

The fleet was restricted to shield Drams and Scimitars. As some of us are not capable of even sitting in a Dram, shield Interceptors were also allowed, as well as a couple of Sentinels for e-war and an Interdictor. Of course, I jumped into my shield Malediction, ready for some pew-pew.

We set off through 0.0 with about 18 ships, mostly Drams, and ran into a gate camp. There were about 8 of them, mostly in cruisers, but despite the class advantage, it was a complete massacre. We wiped them out to a man, with no losses.

Continuing on our way, we spent several hours blowing up ships in TEST space, and generally having a good time. Things took a turn for the worse after about our 5th hour of roaming.

We had jumped into a dead-end system to fight with a gang of BCs and Logistics ships. It was a close fought battle, but we were on the winning side; our manoeuvrability allowed us to pick away at stragglers and then get out before the counter-punch came. However, in the middle of the engagement, another gang jumped in.

We warped out, thinking that these were reinforcements for the locals, but in fact they were hostiles. Wounded from our own attacks, our initial opponents were wiped off the field. The victors then decided to camp us into the system, which, as luck would have it, held no wormholes.

Their gang quickly swelled to about 30 BCs and support, and our scouts told us that the out gate was locked down tight. We tried to log out, but they persisted for over an hour. Eventually I, and others, had to drop from vent and head to bed.

Getting home:

Later in the week I tried to get myself back to Hevrice. I picked an off-peak period and made my way back to low sec. I dodged some locals, and was doing well when I had a stroke of bad luck.

I was warping to a gate that was too far from any celestials to scan in advance. Using d-scan mid warp I could see two destroyers waiting for me. I knew this meant there would be a camp on the other side, but I figured that my odds of running it were better than trying to escape the waiting destroyers and finding a way around.

Jumping as soon as I hit the gate, I was followed immediately by the two destroyers. The bubble was up on the other side, so I aligned to a celestial and began to burn out of the bubble. My speed, I hoped, would be enough to save me.

However, as fate would have it, one of the destroyers loaded grid close enough to me to hit me with a scram! Speed gone, I tried to drift far enough from the bubble to get my pod out, but to no avail.


A dissappointing end to what had been an excellent roam.

I did not learn until much later that the gang camping us in had joined our vent channel, so they were not fooled by the log-off attempt. It's something of a tradition in the Tuskers to joke about how easy - and pointless - we are to infiltrate. We have no corp wallet to steal, and because we mostly roam solo in cheap ships, we have little intel of value.

However, I don't think we can just laugh this one off. It was, truthfully, pretty fail. Our lax security cost us an hour of play time, and I lost a ship. Other members of my corp may also have lost ships, or have been forced to abandon them. That's a clear win to the null sec guys.

Tuskers don't do spies. Not because we're too honourable, but because we don't care. This ties into Mord's recent comment about contextual differences between low sec and null sec. For Tuskers, the fight is the point; we're not fighting for ideals, territory, or isk. Even winning is not strictly the goal. We're fighting because we want to improve our technical flying skills, and become the best pilots we can be. So infiltration is seen as a distraction from what really matters (at best) or crutch for poor pilots (at worst).

Of course, as we learned to our detriment, that does not make infiltration any less effective. Not a lesson I'm soon to forget; it cost me a ship.

Equally, I think we underestimated the null sec intel channels. Staying in one place (TEST space) for so long allowed the locals to put together a response fleet (and finding us was easy once they were logged onto our vent). While the timing and location seems to have been bad luck, a top quality null sec FC could easily have been shadowing us, waiting for just such an opporunity.

Still, it was a fantastic roam, and I very much enjoyed playing fast tackle for the fleet. Of course, in a Dram fleet, speed was not really what I was most useful for. Instead, I was a fast locking point on gates, and a good way of landing a point in latecomers to the battle without putting myself in too much danger.

Indeed, we had so much fun, we decided to do the whole thing again the following week.


  1. I got a chance to see Suleiman on his way home the other day. Made me wonder what exactly he was doing in fountain, guess I have my answer.

    If you would like to come to Providence you might be able to get some good fights in ;)

  2. Some very interesting thoughts on the difference in goals of null/low sec in your Afterthoughts there. I really enjoyed that bit.

    One tip concerning your recent loss (hopefully to prevent one in the future) when you mention that the your out gate was too far away from any celestials to scan, there is a way around that. Cancelling out of the warp by stopping your ship still depletes the capacitor. Repeat as necessary until you don't have enough Cap to warp the whole way and you'll land short, hopefully with D-scan distance. May your future be free from gate-camps.

  3. I'm actually pretty surprised you guys don't seem to have API enforced comms. I've dealt with that since February and I just sort of took it for granted. Sure does illustrate a major point between low/null sec groups.

    The general rule I've come to learn is that if you make an annoyance of yourself in someone else's space in null, you typically have about an hour before the defense fleet comes for you. That hour varies depends on how shiny and how annoying you are.

    I also have to admit, I thought about dropping a bomb on you guys at the O-I gate in NOL- when I saw your fleet, but Suleiman's dram discouraged me. Bombing a dram is something I've not yet been able to manage. 7km/s is a bit too fast.

  4. Always fun to beat on test.On getting camped, never stay in one spot too long. On getting killed on the way home, you could have reapproached gate maybe and jumped when in structure. But sometimes you just get a quick trip home.

  5. Ah, damnit, I don't think I heard that you'd gotten the express trip back to Hevrice. My condolences on that. It was great fun to actually be in a fleet with you, though, and I'm looking forward to doing so again!

    Besides, the recital of that one blog post mentioning a certain "seasoned veteran Punisher pilot" was absolutely priceless. At the rate you're going, you may have to start a blog called "Punisher Drifter" or something... though, on second thought, I'm not sure the name has quite the same ring to it.