Friday, 17 February 2017

Astero v Moa

I've been on a bit of an Eve break. I still logged in, but mostly I just did my PI, and sat in corp chat and on voice comms, listening to the banter.

Way back when, one of my most popular posts was called 'The things I don't say', and it was about the challenges that face a solo pvper that rarely make it into the stories. Those challenges are as real today as they were back then. On top of that, though, I've got all the admin that goes into running a solo wormhole operation. That can make for some pretty exhausting play sessions. When Eve starts to feel too much like work, it's time to take a beak.

Which is what I did.

Refreshed and eager to update my killboard, I logged in to find my low sec connection was to a low sec pocket close to Jita. And that close to Jita, the systems were packed.

Undeterred, I bounced around under my cloak, looking for someone I could isolate. When I encountered a Moa at an event plex that was more than 14 AU from most of the celestials in the system, I jumped at the opportunity for an above class kill.

Now, the Moa has a tanking bonus, but I would probably be firing into his worst resists (assuming he tanked for the rats) if I launched Acolytes. He also only has three (unbonused) drones, and no tracking bonus on his Medium Hybrid Turrets. I figured I could do this.

So I uncloaked, and dropped into 3 km orbit after landing a web and a scram. Here's when things got interesting.

The Moa was clearly set up for pvp, as he counter-webbed and scrammed me. This was a good news/bad news situation. On one hand, it meant that the pilot was expecting trouble, and ready for it. On the other hand, it meant that I probably wouldn't have to break some irritatingly strong sustained tank - a buffer tank was much more likely.

One immediate consequence of the web, though, was for me to tighten my orbit. Since angular velocity is proportional to the ratio of transversal speed and distance, I needed to decrease the distance between us as he forced my transversal speed to drop. I wasn't quite sure where to draw the line (too close and my own turret would have difficulty tracking), so I tried a 1.5 km orbit as a starting point.

Keeping an eye on D-scan, I assessed the situation. I was not taking any serious damage from the Moa's guns, but it was too early to say yet whether I was landing effective hits myself. My drones were doing good work, and the Moa's drones were MIA. Did he not have any, or was he just holding them back? There were three abandoned drones on the grid, so perhaps he had warped out at some point, and forgotten to reconnect?

I was still tweaking my orbit as the Moa's shields hit 75% and a Cynabal and a Tristan appeared on D-scan. Shortening my scan to 1 AU, I could see that they were indeed on their way here, and not just passing through.

Here, geometry matters. As a far flung plex, all the warpable celestials were in the direction of the warp-in point. If I tried to burn away from the Moa in that direction, I'd be leaping into the arms of our visitors. But if I burned directly away from them, I'd end up turning around as soon as I aligned to warp, giving the Moa a chance to web and scram me a second time.

My solution, then, was to burn straight up, overheating my prop mod. I have no doubt that the Moa was spamming 'approach', but the T2 web (extra speed reduction) and T2 scram (keeping his mwd shut down until I was clear to warp away) gave me the edge I needed, and I steadily opened the distance.

Unfortunately, this gave the Moa some clear shots at me as I burned directly away. The Cynabal had also landed, and was opening fire with artillery. At least there I had some transversal velocity to help me evade. But my shields were stripped away, and my armor was dropping fast. I activated, and overheated, my repairer and held my breath.

As soon as I saw the Moa's scram drop, I started spamming 'warp'. As I had hoped, my new path took me above the Cynabal, rather than towards it, and did not allow the Moa a second chance to scram me.

I entered warp with some hull damage and two models nearly dead from heat damage. I immediately cloaked up, and bounced to a second celestial as soon as I landed. Calling it a night, I went back to Vanaheim to repair.


An inconclusive fight, to be sure.

But I still learned that I can get under medium blasters while webbed, so long as they have no tracking bonus. And I'm fairly certain that, if not interrupted, I could have taken the Moa.

I look forward to trying again some time.

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