Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Dramiel Roam #2
About a week after our first Dramiel roam, we decided to do the same thing again; our last "last chance" to fly Drams before the nerf. Of course, I flew my shield Malediction as I can't sit in a Dram and my next training priority is Caldari for the Merlin/Caracal/Drake.
As an aside, I'm really looking forward to Caldari frigate V because sometimes you just want to take out a T1 frigate, and I've not been able to fly on that complements my skills. The Caracal will give me my first taste of cruiser pvp, too.
We had more Drams than last time, but no Sentinels or Interdictors. We had learnt our lessons from last week, and used a password protected sub-channel for vent, and spent far less time in each system. In that sense, the roam was more "professional" and we managed to avoid any serious response from the local null sec residents.
This meant that we actually did not find as many challenging fights as last time - perhaps a single fleet engagement - and most of our kills were solo travellers. While objectively better by null sec standards (avoided risk while hitting more expensive targets), I'm not sure it was better by Tusker standards. Towards the end of the roam we had a few pilots wanting to engage an obviously far superior fleet (with probable carrier backup) just for the challenge. However, cooler heads prevailed, and we simply went around.
Ironically, we had our own "spy" this time. We had a guest in our fleet who was a full time null sec resident himself, which meant he had access to the intel channels. In true Tusker fashion we completely ignored the opportunity to win the espionage war, and instead had him relay to us all the nasty things that were being said about us behind our backs. Much hilarity ensued.
I'm not going to try and go through each engagement, but there are a few learning points for me to record.
To begin with, our lack of an Interdictor hurt us. There were probably about a half dozen small ships that simply slipped away because of their fast align time. A bubble would have been a huge help.
This also led to a rather embarrassing (for me) incident where I pointed one of my own fleet mates. A frigate had jumped through the gate and, being an Interceptor, I orbited the gate at 500m so that my long point could cover the entire spawn zone. With my point pre-triggered, I tried to catch the frigate as soon as he appeared on my overview.
The first time I was to fast, and he was still protected by the gate-cloak (even though I could see him). The second time was too late, and he disappeared from my overview just as I clicked on him. Of course, everyone below him on the overview then moved up a spot, and I ended up clicking on (and pointing) one of our Drams.
Now, I'm used to roaming solo, and I sure as heck want to see every ship that lands on grid with me. However, in the patented Tusker training style (ie, mock the heck out of you), it was suggested that this was not an awesome plan in fleets. As I now had 60 seconds of aggression to kill while the fleet moved on, I set up a separate fleet overview that did not include fleet-mates.
I had another embarrassing moment later in the roam after a bombing run against us. I had my mwd shut off, of course (although am I right in thinking that the mwd signature reduction on Interceptors makes them pretty safe from bombs even when the mwd is running?), but I took a little bit of shield damage.
Two things then happened at the same time. First, one of our Scimitars locked me up to give me reps, and second, I tried to point the bomber. As you can probably guess, my auto targeting locked the Scimitar first, so when I activated my point I hit the friendly again. Ugh.
Now, some people say that auto-locking is for noobs. I strongly disagree; it's free intel when flying solo. Is that neutral that just landed going to engage you or the other guy? Has your target launched drones? Auto-lock gives you a quick list of who to kill in small engagements without distracting you from the piloting and ship management that is so critical when you 1vX.
None of that means it's not completely fail when paired with Logistic ships, however. Once again I accept the mockery of my peers (I'm serious about it being a teaching aid, by the way. I'm not going to make either of those mistakes again.) while I turned off auto-lock for the duration of the fleet.
All together, I felt like the corp performed much better than it did on our last null sec roam, while I made every mistake from chapter 1 of "Fleets for Dummies". Still, it was a good time and I'm glad to be getting out of Hevrice and learning a bit about null sec.