Recently, I've been feeling that my roams have become a little too comfortable. There's always a fair amount of action around Aeschee, and I can usually find something within four jumps of Hevrice. These systems are so heavily bookmarked that I'm never in any real danger of having to fight something that I don't want to, and I don't even need to look at the system maps; I jump from HS1 (hunting safe one) to HS2 to HS3 and, ta-da, I've scanned the entire system.
With this in mind, I took a long, meandering roam through Essence, Placid, Lonetrek and Black Rise, looking for fights outside my home turf. It was good to be in unknown space again; checking system maps and bringing up unknown profiles on pilots in local.
Many systems were completely empty, and I could enjoy the new views of Cloud Ring and other nebulae. Other systems offered targets, but most of these proved elusive, or obvious traps. I tried to engage a Slicer, Jag, Rifter gang, thinking that I might be able to isolate the Slicer and take him down. They decided they had better things to do, however, and I moved on.
At some point in my roam, found a Caracal ratting at a belt, and I immediately decided to try my luck. While in warp, I needed to make a snap decision regarding the ammo I used; a choice that would potentially make or break the fight.
Obviously, a Caracal would have no trouble hitting me. However, my speed would hopefully mitigate a significant part of that damage, and allow me to try and brawl him down. If I used Javelin rockets, then I would be able to stay safely out of scram range, but my speed (and thus, my damage mitigation) would be lower, allowing him to hit me for more damage.
On the other hand, if he was purely fit for ratting (rather than being bait or using a pvp fit) then I could load faction rockets, increasing my dps and speed, but reducing my range. If I went for faction rockets and he had a scram (or long point and web) then I was simply going to die.
Being a long way from home, I decided to play it safe and loaded Javelin. I was surprised at just how much damage I took from each volley the Caracal sent my way, and I again found myself wondering what kind of difference Interceptors V would make - I promised myself that I'd find out before the end of January.
However, I was doing a decent amount of damage in return, and I was chewing into his tank. Unfortunately, my shields beeped the 30% warning at me while he was still at half shields, so I wished him a "gf" and warped off to wait out my gcc.
The rest of my roam was fairly fruitless as I found myself in the wake of a large fleet that had made everyone skittish. I ended up only catching an Imparitor and the owner's blank clone.
This was a fight that my Vengeance would probably have won fairly easily, assuming I could have caught the guy in the first place. For this reason the mwd bonus in the proposed AF changes really interests me, as it would make AFs decent at actually catching targets, an area where all but the Jaguar really fall short at the moment.
That aside, I was impressed my how much of a beating the Crow actually took, and how much damage it actually put out. I need to max out many of the relevant skills, and I'm looking forward to the difference that will make. Despite being depressingly ugly, the Crow is fast becoming my favourite solo ship, although a buffed Vengeance could probably give it a run for it's money.