Friday, September 2, 2011

1st Solo PVP: Punisher vs Thorax

     As mentioned in a earlier post, there I was, slowly shuttling all my pew pew boats hither, and thither, and yon to get them all down into the last high sec system just before heading 4 jumps to the final low sec destination.  I had most (small) boats sitting in the system where I was running level 2s and 3s where I could pick them up (along with all the rest of my keeper modules) with the Orca and take them to the staging system.  I went to the level 4 mission system to pick up my T1 Punisher that I'd fitted out roughly like the ones mentioned on some of the blogs, and was going to take it  through the 11 hop, mostly low sec, pipe to the staging system.  The end state being that everything will be within 1 hop of the staging system, which is only 4 jumps from final destination.  I'm feeling much more comfortable in low sec now, and all the way through the pipe, I have multiple safe spots in all the systems - even the .5 system in the middle of the route.

     As I was going through the systems, I thought I would grab a little bounty and maybe some "massive" rep gains by detouring through the belts of each system, and popping at least one rat before hitting the next system.  All the other toons were in fleet, so everyone gets a little love.  I was using a plain Jane T1 Punisher, and it's fitted out fairly strongly even though my core skills aren't all maxxed yet.  T2 pulse with a DC2, a repper 2, AB2, a webber and a Nos2.  It isn't cap stable but I can fight for a long time in close by running all the modules and orbiting tight.  I've been reading a bunch of pirate blogs so I thought I'd see if I could execute some of the more basic techniques I'd read about.

     I get to the first belt, and came across 4 rat frigates.  They went through the shields fairly swiftly, and I was slowly going through the armour, even though the repper and NOS were running.  I noticed my shots were missing, even with the webber, because their transversal was too high.  To fix that, I panned out, and manually flew the boat to make tighter corners and reduce the transversal on the target I had selected.  As soon as I did that, I started dropping them pretty fast.  After the first went down, I was only slightly behind in making armour repairs.  After the 2nd went down, I was slightly ahead on armour repairs, and the last two went down easy.  The whole time I kept my head on a swivel and had the local tab pulled out of chat to keep an eye  on system.  Scanner was up, but no one else in system, so I wasn't running it.  Nothing remarkable to note in the loot.  I was happy with my ability to assess the tracking problem, come up with a plan, and execute it to a successful outcome.  I had half recharged shields and full armour by the time the fight was over, and I jumped to the next system.

     Next system, random belt, and I was presented with two bigger flashies when I warped in at 30km.  No one else in system.  These rats were Omen cruisers, times two.  I selected one, they were out of lock range, and approached.  They locked first and started blasting, but missing, and I was heading straight at them with AB on, and was taking some good hits as I approached the 15km mark.  I turned on the DC2 and started my 5000m orbit.  I wanted to use my conflagration, but couldn't reliably stay under 3k orbit to stay in optimal, so I used scorch at 5k.  I guess I could have shut off the AB and tried a 2k orbit.  NOS and web were locked in, AB on, doing about 650 m/s, and the target Omen was consistently missing, and the other Omen was missing when my transversal was too high.  They crushed my shields easily, but shit slowed down when they hit armour, and I easily tanked their damage.  I switched from navy radio to scorch and was doing decent damage in the 60 to 110 damage range, and steadily ate through the first omen.  By the time it popped, I was slowly starting to get shields back.  2nd one went down easier than the first and I finished with nearly full shields.  Nothing fancy dropped.  On to the next system.

     I jumped in to a random belt at 40km, and was presented with a rat Geddon and 2 more Omens.  No one else in system, but I hesitated, to be honest.  This was a very pretty rat Geddon, and I remembered how much slower it was to take down the Omens vs the frigates.  I wasn't worried that I could get under the guns of the Geddon, because I could make the Omens miss, but the problem was that I needed to GET THERE first, intact.  Meh, WTF, I hit AB and burned straight at them - figured I'd take it on the nose where armour was the heaviest.  Big damage - shields vaporized and I went slightly into armour.  "Oh yeah" I thought, this is my little "T1 frigate, not my Russian heavy in WOT . . ", so I picked a more off-angle approach to get a little transversal going.  It seemed to help as they started missing more and I settled into a tight orbit around the geddon.  Everything was running full blast and I was using NOS on the geddon while webbing the cruiser I was shooting at.  The damage on the Omens was pretty steady and they went down in decent time, while doing no damage to me that I couldn't rep my way out of.  After the Omens popped, I started the slow boat to China with regards to taking down the geddon.  Just maintained the orbit, kept blasting, shut the repper and DC off, but kept the web and NOS running.  Could have probably shut off the web, and should have experimented with shutting off the AB and running a tighter orbit to use the conflagration - but didn't think of it.  Just monitored the damage and watched local.  It finally popped, picked up some more loot - nothing fancy, next system.

     I was right next door to the .5 system in the middle of the low sec pipe now.  No one in system, picked a random belt, in at 30km.  Two more cruiser sized rats, but these ones looked like a Maller.  More armour on these likely, because I know the Mallers are great dual repper tanks (from the "Know your T1 Frigates" articles :)), so I figured these would have better armour too.  These dudes hit hard on the way in to engage, and it was tough to get in a good orbit because they were tight on the asteroids, so I was bouncing around a lot.  They had hard hitting lasers but I was manually flying and it didn't seem to take much to make them miss.  Much tougher than the Omen rats, but I got the first one down while repping to keep a grip on the armour damage from the pair.  I start in on the 2nd Maller, got in orbit, got the web and NOS going, and a blue shows up in local.  I'm set up for the Maller and working it down, armour is starting to come back up, so I take a look at the blue again.  Nothing fancy - just a blue - not even negative rep.  NP, I carry on with the rat.  The rat is deep into its armour now, and the blue, in a Thorax cruiser shows up in the belt.  Maybe he's going to help with the rat, seeing as how he can see I've taken damage and there were two of them . . and he's blue.  He's targeting me . . Maybe he's going to remote rep me?  Rat is into hull, and out come 3 drones from the Thorax.  They aren't repper drones.  Maybe he's going to send them after the rat.  Or, maybe he's going to send them after me because now he's all red and flashy.  Well, fuckin' great.  At least I got the rat down.

     Ok.  So, armour is still not fully repaired, shield is gone, and 3 drones (I don't remember the type) are coming hard and fast.  Try to warp - no luck, even though there is no indicator in the overview (I know the overview was working because it showed the tracking disruptor when I was fighting the 4 rats earlier).  He's sitting at a fairly steady 15km so likely he's artillery fit or maybe just hanging back to see what happens with his drones.  I'm trying to outrun his scram but need to deal with the drone damage too, as his weapon damage seems tankable and I'm not getting hurt too fast.  I know I can't outrun the drones so I need to take them out.  Don't know how big the drone bay on a Thorax is and I don't figure I have the time to check, and I might not want to know the answer . . .  I NOS one of the drones with all mods running, and start webbing and shooting the other two drones.  The drones go down fast enough so I go back at the Thorax.  I try to warp out a couple times - no go.  I start in a tight orbit on the cruiser and start biting hard into his shield from 5k with scorch.  Out come 3 more drones.  I was starting to make headway on the repairs, but things were going too fast for me to keep track of now and I wasn't managing my cockpit very well.  I was webbing the drones to slow them so I can hit them, and the Thorax manages to get range on me again.  Started running out of cap, but haltingly managed to take out his three new drones.  Tried to warp out 3 or 4 more times - no go.  I was slowly getting into hull now and mods and guns kept shutting off due to low power.  Shortly after popping his 6th drone, I got popped by the cruiser but not before I got him well into armour.  Spammed the warp button to save the pod . . (yeah "S", not "D" - derp . . ) and jumped to the .5 system gate, and then through.  In warp, I asked in local why he attacked when he was blue.  He said, "Yeah, I know".  ???

     I got into system, no station.  NP.  I warped to the next system, .4 I think, and docked at top.  He sent me a gf in local, but I had other things on my mind than to respond - I wanted to save my pod, which I did.  He sent me an email right away and said he was impressed that I stayed to fight and that I lasted as long as I did.  He said there was a short time when I took out his scram and I could have escaped - which I tried to do, but I guess I missed the window.  I replied back that I stayed because he was blue and that if I thought I was going to get ganked by a blue, I would have warped out as soon as I saw him in local, and definitely as soon as he landed on grid.  I told him I tried to warp out multiple times but couldn't.  I asked why he attacked a blue.  He sent a reply back that he was blue, but had quit his corp to become a pirate and was still blue for 24 hours.  I was his lucky first customer.  I replied, I guess that's just the way it goes in lo sec.
So, an assessment.  I was pissed.  Not because I got popped (and of course my Punisher insurance ran out on the day before . .) but because my cockpit management started to break down.  Also, in hind sight, I think/know I made some bad calls pre-battle, and during the fight.  It was my first real solo pvp fight where I stood a chance of surviving, and I could have, but I lacked the experience and skills to carry the fight to a win.

     Lots of things I could have done better.
1.  Easiest way was to bug out when I saw him in local.  Fuck that though.  He's blue.  I trust the blue or I don't.  I trust blue.  I have to, or I might as well move out of lo sec.  I'm not going to run every time I see someone enter the system.  Not when I only have a T1 frigate to lose.
2.  Once he landed in belt though, I should have seriously started paying attention to him and when I saw him trying to target me, that should have been the cue.  I saw it, but I disregarded it.  I was already into armour from the rats.  Next time, I'll bug out if it's something I think I can't handle.  Still, it's only a Punisher - not a massive loss in a sparring match.
3.  Lots of guys were in the pipe only 2 or 3 jumps away.  I could have simply asked for help - someone might have come.  The fight lasted a while (I need to check the combat logs) and I know there was more than enough time for someone to come even 5 or 6 systems.  I held my own for a decent amount of time against a cruiser - which I'm pretty happy about.  He waited until I was already hurt by the rats to go after me, so I shouldn't have had any qualms about asking for help too.
4.  I could have tried to overheat my ab to slingshot and get out past 25km and see if I could warp out.  My AB would have lasted long enough to attempt that.  I had no problem closing the distance on him when I wanted to so I might have been able to OH the AB and get clear too.
5.  I could/should have headed straight to the Thorax and stuck tight on his ass.  There's a reason he wanted to dictate his long range.  Don't know if I was fast enough to keep up to him if he wasn't webbed, but I could have NOS'd at the very least.  Problem is, webbing him would mean I likely couldn't hit the drones but with the cruiser damage being negated, maybe I could have tanked the drones long enough to slowly pick them off, and/or cycle the web on the drones and back to the cruiser.  If he flew away to range, web him, and get back to tight orbit, shoot the drones, rinse - repeat.
6.  Could have overheated the guns too.
7.  Could have gotten in tight on him, webbed and NOS, shut off the AB to save power and switch to the conflagration for higher damage.  I "think" the T2 crystals use more power than the faction crystals.  I need to "know" that, and that being the case, should have used the faction crystals that I also had.  I'd lose a little dps, but I'd save some cap.  Would have prolonged my fight as the problems really started to pile up fast after I started running out of cap.  Even then though, I wasn't completely screwed with no power, it was just that I was taking more damage than I could deal with, and I was putting out less dps because the lasers kept shutting off.
8.  I needed to pay more attention to the type of weapon he was using and how much damage it was doing, and when.  I need to check the combat log and the killmail but the range he was at for more of the fight tells me everything I needed to know.  He was not set for close range - I was, but didn't do it.

If he had no more drones left and managed to warp out on me after realizing he might lose, I am fine with that.  That is a win in my books.

     So next time, when I see someone in system, be ready to warp out immediately - screw the rat.  If they drop in on me, I'm gone - no hesitation - the frigte can jump out fast.  If the shit starts, "I" dictate the range first if I can, if not, overheat and get out.  Pay attention to the combat messages more and I should be ok.  I'm ok with losing a few more frigates.  It's all good.  I'd like to try him again.  Next time, I think he'd be warping out, either in his cruiser, or preferably, in his pod.

Post research:  So I checked the Thorax - looks like he can hold 10 drones.  Cleverly, he was dropping them in threes - I still would have had 4 more to deal with.  That would have been tough maybe/probably.  Apparently, they also get a MWD bonus, so I possibly couldn't have outrun him overheated or not, and I might not have been able to hold him with a web either.

The Point?  Knowing the basics of different ship types is a good thing, if you have the time and memory for it, but in the end, DON'T PANIC!  It's just a boat.

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