Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Astero v Gnosis

It had been a week full of admin. Losing two Epithals meant replacing them, and resetting 15 planetary colonies from P3 production to P2 production meant hours of fiddly clicking through the torture device CCP laughingly calls the PI 'user interface'.

So when my Saturday morning low sec static dropped me in Jovainnion, right next door to Hevrice, I was delighted. As the Tuskers HQ in k-space, I knew the area very well.

I began by hauling my PI to market so I could come back with fuel for the week. I like to get this done early, partly to get it out of the way, but also to reduce the risk of either a high sec or a low sec gank.

However, as I was jumping out of Jov, I saw a Gnosis on D-scan. And the only player in the system was relatively new...

Dropping my hauler at the nearest high sec station, I raced back for my Astero and went hunting. The Gnosis was ratting, and I caught him at the final belt! The fight was on.

The pilot was using medium drones to hunt rats, so I did not bother clearing them as they could not damage me effectively. If I did clear them, there was the risk that he would just launch more appropriate drones, which would be a pain.

I loaded conflag, and put my Hobgoblin IIs on him, and I watched his shields melt. As got him into armor, though, it was clear that he had an active tank.

My opponent might have been new, but he was pretty sharp. He could tell he couldn't hit me, so he turned off his hybrid turrets so that he could remain cap stable with the repairer on. I was breaking him, but it was slow.

In broken English, he politely offered to pay a ransom, but I declined. I wanted the stress-test of my fit more than I needed cash.

My main concern quickly became an unexpected visitor, and so I kept a close watch on D-scan. As we inched through armor, and into structure, I began to think that I really might snag this killmail.

My target had not given up, though. Seeing that I was easily tanking his drone damage, he switched his targeting to my own drones. This put me in a real bind.

If stopped to clear his drones at this point, he would quickly rep back up to full, and I'd be right back where I started. But if he was able to chew through enough of my drones before going down, I'd lack the dps to finish him off.

Local had been starting to fill up, and I didn't think I had time to effectively reset the fight. I'd have to tough it out.

One Hobgoblin went boom. I carry a flight of Hobgoblin II, a flight of Acolyte II, and a flight of ECM Hornets. So my only option was to replace the Hobgoblin with an Acolyte. Not only is the dps lower, but it's the worst damage type to bring against an armor tank. Ouch.

My dps slowed. Another Hobgoblin went boom, only to be replaced by an Acolyte.

My dps slowed to a crawl, but I was still just barely breaking him. He was at 25% structure.

Which is when my luck ran out. A Dramiel dropped in on us, and while I should be able to drive it off, it would allow the Gnosis to rep up to full. Instead, I bolted, and hoped that the Dramiel would snag the Gnosis and finish him off, leaving me with half a killmail.

Apparently the Dramiel preferred to chase me over the Gnosis, following me in warp in an effort to decloak me when he landed. It didn't work - the Astero has an amazing alignment speed, so I was already on my way to a second celestial when he arrived.

As the Gnosis fled the system, I gave him a heartfelt 'good fight!' in local. He refused to give up, fought his heart out, and was rescued by events. He'd impressed me enough that I'd already decided to contract him one of my Gnosi if I'd managed to take him down. As it turns out, that did not prove necessary.


This was exactly the test I've been looking for. An above class ship with no tanking bonus and a relatively new player. This was as good as it was going to get. And it still didn't quite work. There are a lot of reasons for that; some to do with my fit, and some to do with my tactics.

First of all, I should have cleared his drones. Flying nearly any other kind of ship, this would have been unnecessary, because his drones were no threat to me. But because the Astero's dps is so dependent on my own drones, he was able to counter me in a way that I should have expected, but didn't. If he had thought of it earlier, I wouldn't have gotten anywhere near killing him.

And it looks like I just found a reason to train Gallente Frigate V.

That raises obvious questions about my drone load-out. I have no redundancy, because I'm trying to cover as many bases as possible. Hobgoblins are my go-to drone, because they have the best dps and thermal damage is a great all-around damage type.

The Acolytes are there to deal with other drones, or ships that try to kite me. The ECM drones are there to give me a chance at escape in fights that I could not otherwise win. I've never actually had to use them, so I can't say how effective they are, or how often I would need to use them. But then, I've never had someone take out my Hobgoblins before, either.

All of those issues are tangential points, however. The bottom line is that my dps was too low. The fight took 15 minutes, and I can't assume that I'm going to get that much undisturbed time whenever I manage to pin down a battlecruiser. I simply need more dps.

So I'll be reviewing my fit. At least one resistance module will be coming off for a DDA II, but I'm considering other changes as well.

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