Monday, 20 February 2017
Astero v Caracal
On Friday night my static led me to a low sec pocket in Lonetrek. It was far too hot to do anything useful, but I suspected that it would be ideal come Saturday morning.
And so it proved. I quickly found a Thrasher and a Venture to explode, and just missed an Eagle who decided that he wasn't interested in helping me test my tank. So I was on a bit of a roll when I managed to point a Caracal in a remote asteroid belt.
Now, I had some serious reservations about this fight. The Caracal has a reputation as a frigate killer, thanks to the RLML that it tends to pack. In addition, the low fitting requirements of the RLML means that the Caracal can pack a massive tank, so even though it has no tanking bonus, it's often one of the beefier T1 cruisers out there.
Still, there's no point in flying a 100 million ISK frigate if you are going to run from T1 cruisers. So in I went, ready to pop some Synth Exile as soon as I had a sense of his dps.
It was the typical approach under cloak. He had actually just finished up the rats, and was looting the wrecks, so I was taking a few risks here. Not only did I not have the rat's dps to help me, but he might just warp out naturally while I was waiting out my cloak timer. Still, carpe diem and all that.
After landing tackle and deploying my drones, we set into each other. Here I was helped enormously by his apparent lack of a web. While I may be a drone and laser boy right now, I've spent a lot of time flying missile ships in the past, and I know from experience how much difference an unwebbed afterburner makes to your applied dps. This was a real stroke of good fortune.
It became clear that not only would I not need to take any Exile, I wouldn't even need to overheat my repairer. My opponent was pretty sharp, though, and he noticed every bit as quickly as I did. So he did what everybody who can't break my tank does, and went after my drones.
Still, I was ready for it, and we played a game of whack-a-mole. He would start firing at one of my Hobgoblins and I'd recall that drone and release an Acolyte (which are much tougher). By the time he started the Acolytes, my Hobgoblins had recharged their shields and I was sending them out for a second time, replacing the retreating Acolytes.
All this time, I was spamming D-scan. The system wasn't busy, but we were most certainly not alone. My primary concern was a Stratios that had been moving through the nearby systems, but which I could not link to a specific pilot. I had Conflag loaded, and I set it to overheat once he got to about 30% shields.
In the end, his lack of web hurt him with the drones as well. Unable to prevent them from zipping back to my drone bay once they started taking fire, he was only able to destroy one of them before he exploded. A poor consolation prize for losing a Caracal, I suspect.
Yes, I need to train Gallente Frigate V. And a whole bunch of other things. Living in a wormhole solo has meant using skills that I could ignore previously, and I've spent the past month training w-space related skills. I could spend the next three months just working on scanning, hauling, mining, and exploring skills that I use regularly.
As much as I complain, though, it's actually a good thing, because it means the game is still fresh. Too many 'bittervets' struggle to find anything they actually want to train. That is most certainly NOT my problem!
I also need to think again about dropping the ECM drones. I've never actually used them, but going after my drones is clearly going to be a 'thing' for above class pilots that can't shake me. And it makes total sense - pull my teeth, and I'll go away.
My thought is that some Caldari Hornets might be a good choice. It gives me a third damage type, they are nearly as tough as Acolytes, and they do nearly as much damage as Hobgoblins.
After all, the next Caracal I tackle may not have left his web at home.