Friday, September 23, 2011

Captain Broomstick, et al

     Whilst cruising around the intar pipes, I came across a post in the blog-o-nets about a pvp encounter with the same individual that myself and friends have run across.  Cpt Boomstick is apparently a full time, multi-boxing, devil-may-care, tear-extracting pirate, seemingly specializing in baiting players with can flipping, and maybe a little ninja salvaging thrown in just for lolzers.  My friend and his corpies ran into the Captain in the Shuria area, where a large number of corpies hung out as there were some lucrative level 4 missions to run.  For brevity and security, let's call my friend . . . "Nancy".

     Nancy was missioning in his Abaddon, which was set up with some pretty good pew pew gear so he could rip up the missions reasonably fast.  Like most other players, he'd run the rooms and then come back with his noctis to see what goodies the Eve universe had dropped for him.  While Nancy was in the final room, playing the part of Miss Muffet, along comes Cpt Boomstick, playing the part of the spider.  Cpt Boomstick in his Vigil also brought along his orca alt and proceeded to start flipping the wrecks, possibly looking for ph4t level 4 mission l00tz, or more likely looking to bait my friend.  Nancy, having set up his boat for artillery fit, and racing towards the wrecks, with the gas pedal to the firewall at a summer breeze pace of 68m/s, was in no way able to outrace Broomsticks vigil in getting to the wrecks, especially the Overlord's wreck.  So, being quasi irritated by Broomstick ninja looting the wrecks before he could get to them, he weighed his options.

     Nancy is no stranger to pvp and kill boards, so while finishing off the last of the mission rats, he noted that a number of Broomstick's kills were in a Loki.  Not exactly a ship to be trifled with in a pve fit BS.  So, my friend figured that if he tried to pop the frigate (which would be a tough process with the BS), that would make him all flashy, and Broomstick would pull out his Loki from the depths of his alt's orca.  Broomstick's Loki would be a bad thing likely, because Broomstick has been playing long enough to know exactly what resists and hardeners a mission runner would be using, so using other ammo damage types would rip through Nancy's BS like new underwear on prom night.  Nancy decided to say screw it (and as he doesn't have a salvage alt account that I TOLD him to start), he started targeting the wrecks and popping them, hopefully before Broomstick could get them. 

"HA!  In yer face, Broomstick!!", shouts Nancy, while sneering triumphantly at the computard screen.

     Unfortunately, with the heady mix of auto-targeting, inattention, and single-shotting the wrecks, Nancy quickly popped the target-locked wrecks, and advanced all too quickly to the still targeted frigate of Capt Broomstick.  He let fly with a very photogenic salvo of blue electrons in the general direction of the vigil, and fortunately for villainous Broomstick, but unfortunately for Nancy, the laser beams sailed wide of the mark, only so stab off into the darkness to take their place in the long, slow death of background radiation in the cold black of the Eve universe.

     Now Nancy was all red and flashy to Broomstick, and the pvp dance was really starting to heat up.

     In less time than it takes to say, "OMG!  Is that a pony with a stick in its face?!?!?" Broomstick was on Nancy like a fat kid on a Smartie and Nancy was webbed and scrammed.  Nancy launched his flight of Hob 2s to deal with Broomstick, and started to assess his options.  Nancy's speed was now a blistering 32m/s, and he noticed that the orca was approaching him at a slightly more blistering pace and slowly gaining ground on him, all the while, Broomstick's vigil was slowly picking off Nancy's drones, repping the damage, and carving tight orbits around the Abaddon's bulk like an excited blow fly circling a bloated wildebeast carcass in June.

     Err . . . Africa is south of the equator, so I guess that means June is likely in their winter, and probably not so hot . . .   Ok, so pretend the dead wildebeast is in a zoo in Toronto.  Now THAT would be hot!  Hooooieeee!

     So anyway, Nancy pulls his drones back in because they aren't doing dick, and he is trying to crawl away in the opposite direction to the orca because he is sure that as soon as the orca gets close enough, Broomstick will quick fast dock his frigate, jump in his T3 SHIP NAME, and tear up his Abaddon before he can align and warp out.

     Nancy knows he is running out of options.  The rest of us online at the time know he is wracking his brain for solutions, because in chat we can see "8f7ty89t4y794h8qabhyu", and SDVFREP4IOU56" (he accidentally hit the caps lock), and "dfjhpur4tdfnjk5" as he repeatedly bashes the keyboard off his forehead in a valiant attempt to generate a clever escape plan.  We can also hear him in Vent as he inadvertently keys the microphone with each keyboard strike to his head, and the thin, cheap, plasticy sound of the keyboard hitting an immovable object is eerily mixed with the "stuck key" beeps, and both a very high pitched keening wail and the loud, sharp gutteral sound of someone seemingly swearing profusely in some long lost Sumerian dialect.  The big money was on Nancy doing the swearing, but there were also some good odds on it being his wife or daughter too.  If someone had been sitting beside me, I would have slowly turned my head and looked at them with a look of awe and stunned disbelief.  As no one else was there though, I just laughed so hard I started to cry.

     After what seemed like an eternity of awkward silence on both Ventrilo and in corp chat, but was likely no more than 5 or 10 seconds, Nancy piped up and frantically calmly inquired if someone was on that could save his ass maybe help him out a little.  At that time, I was too many jumps away to be able to help him out, but another corpy, who we shall call the Knight in Shining Red Armour (KSRA for short, I guess) said he could come help with a Pilgrim, but he had to reship quick and he was 5 or 6 jumps out.  No one else was close enough.  Nancy's WHOOOP!! was so loud that it made my speaker guts pop out like the intestines of a fresh raccoon roadkill.  Nancy got the gate direction KSRA was coming in from and thankfully, it was only slightly off to the side of the direction he was slowly trying to run in, so aligning to it didn't make the Abaddon head toward the orca.  Nancy and KSRA fleeted up.

     At this point, action in the corp pretty much slowed to a halt and the tension and drama were almost palpable, or at least thick enough to be able to try cutting it with a knife.  The orca was still enough kilometers away that Broomstick apparently thought he might lose the BS in the time it took him to re-ship out of the orca.  Those of us listening to and reading the updates were on the edge of our seats.  In my mind I kept flashing from the mental image of the Abaddon with it's engines roaring in desperation as an angry little frigate orbited it while its bullets bounced off the hide of the ponderous beast below it, to the unassuming orca that was silently and smoothly sliding through space and closing in on its prey while a determined, smooth red ship was flashing through system, to gate, to system, in an attempt to close the distance to the Abaddon before the orca did.  The updates were coming fast and furious.  Jumps.  Orca distance.  Systems.  BS.  Orca.  Jumps.  Orca.  Jumps. BS.  Jumps.  Orca.  BS.  Pizza!  No, wait, that was later.  And then . . .

Nancy:  "Where are you man!  Getting close!  Too close!!"
KSRA:  "1 jump out"
Nancy:  "Warp to zero, warp to zero"
KSRA:  "Warping to zero"

     KSRA was inbound with with a point and some warrior 2s to try to hold and pop the vigil before it could escape.  Nancy was thinking that at this point if he launched drones, seeing as how he had no web or point on the BS, the drones might distract Broomstick long enough for the pilgrim to lock up the frigate, get point and set his drones loose before the vigil could outrun the cruiser and burn out of point range.

Nancy:  "Launching drones"
KSRA:  "2 seconds out . . "

     The drones starting biting into the frigate in the time it took Broomstick to lock them up and start trying to take them out again.  KSRA didn't just land at zero, he just about went through the windshield of the vigil!  KSRA's cloak popped and he goes long and starts to lock up the frigate of the surprised Capt Broomstick.  The drones are making great headway into the frigate's armour now as Boomstick assessed the situation and prepares to bug out.  KSRA starts banking his pilgrim to try and get into position to drop a neut on the vigil's ass and take out his AB, but the vigil just manages to get clear of the neut.  Boomstick is fast to react, even though caught off guard, and he is outrunning the pilgrim.  Nancy opens up on him with his mega beam lasers, hoping for a hail Mary shot, as the warrior 2s continue to whittle away the escaping frigate. 

Nancy:  "Get'im, get'im before he warps out!!!"
KSBA:  "I'm trying, I'm trying!  He's too fast!  I'm just about to lose point!"

     As the valiant duo were watching Broomstick's range hit the 18, then 19km mark, Nancy's lasers stabbed the dark one more time with their funky blue light, and target lock was lost on the vigil as it exploded into a starburst of light and a shower of glittering sparks.  As Broomstick was making his escape, his path away from the Abaddon took away the tranversal and allowed the beam lasers to land a lucky shot.  Say goodnight, Agnace.

     So, like, OH  MY  GOD!!!!!!  Unbelievable!  They did it!  The corp erupted!  Nancy bellowed!  KSRA let out a Samurai war cry!  The corp cheered!  Hap fell asleep.  The CEO wept . . . openly.  I collapsed.  The cat meowed (because it was hungry).  Eve cheered!  It was awesome!  In all the furor, Nancy had the presence of mind to recall his heroic Hob 2s and then warped out.  The pod blasted out of the debris field and warped off.  The still-neutral orca sluggishly changed direction and started to fire up its warp drive.  KSRA wheeled around, called his warriors home, initiated warpout too, and then leaned back in his chair and reached for that big fat Cuban cigar he'd been saving for a special occasion.  Oh baby . . .

     That was TOTALLY the way it went down, I swear!  Where is FRAPS when you need it??  So, that was it, right?  WRONG!  There's more, but that's for another time.

The Point?  Good PVE fits do not equal good PVP fits, and a PVE hunter can easily turn into the PVP prey with a little inattention.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

POS for thought

     Only the cool kids (with the pumped up kicks - love that song) go pos tipping.  POSs are just one more part of EVE that I plan to explore in the not too distant future, but in the mean time, I've had a couple opportunities to wreck people's fun and make peopel cry by helping to destroy their POSs.  Part of the game, yo.

     The first POS bash I was able to help on was a few months back.  I had a slightly gimped (due to my skills) sniper Apoc BS that could reach out and touch someone at about 140km.  I don't even remember the system or situation, but all the cool kids were fleeting up to go kill a POS, so hey, I'm in!  I think there was only about 20 of us, but we circled the wagon/command ships and slowly ground down all the indicated turrets and arrays and then banged away at the shield until the tower went into reinforced.

     Different tactics and rules, to be sure.  Orbit the CC repping ships to stay in range of their remote services.  Pound and blast and shoot until you run out of cap, and then click the little button thingy on the fleet window that politely asks for cap recharge so you can keep shooting.  Keep an eye on your shields/armour so you can ask/beg/SCREAM for repairs once the station guns get a hold of your shiny metal ass ship.  Oh yeah, and always, ALWAYS make sure you show up with enough ammo, crystals and missiles for long term shooty goodness.

     I'd read some info about POSs on the fora and in blogs, but up close and personal, the POS was still pretty damn cool and all the stuff going on was a little daunting as far as information processing was concerned.  Take the guns and arrays down to structure and then they get almost infinitely hard to kill, so stop shooting - check.  After the defences are down, take the tower's shield down to 25% shields, and then stop til it comes out of reinforced - check.  Uhhh . . . and we know the tower is in reinforced mode for "X" amount of time because . . . ??  Oh yeah, the little words beside the tower - check!  :D   . . . and the reinforced mode ends because all the strontinatercalthradoozleinium (or whatever . . ) runs out.  Gotcha.  Ok, back we go in 37 hours and 9 minutes.  Aces!  :)

     Unfortunately for me, 37 hours and 8 minutes later, life happened and I had to do some real life stuff.  Therefore, I never got to go back and apply sudden, impending, gradual, slow doom to the tower and remaining bits and pieces anchored about the POS area.  No problem.  Bit of a let down, but hey, I still shot at just about everything so I'll still get some "phat creds" on the killboardz after the POS is finally down, right?  :D   What do you mean, "no"?!?!  I have to be there shooting at it at the time of the kill??  Whatever!!!  And then, depression set in . .

     Killmails are a fickle beast it seems, especially with POS bashery.  Even the fact that if either you or the thing you are shooting at ends up on the other side of a warp gate before the kill shot lands, means you are off the kill mail.  So much for pumping up my killboard stats and ratios and percentages and all that other cool stuff that the cool guys can quote.  Meh.  Well, another time.  I'm sure there will be ample other opportunities for me to boost my stats to point out the obvious fact that the next time a raging silo, or a hyper-dangerous small ship assembly array ever crosses my path, it will have, at best, a 53.7% chance of survival.  Hell yeah!

The Point?  POS bashes can be fairly easy km whoring if a) you have a boat with good range, and 2) you don't get counter-attacked while bashing, and maybe c) if you are around when the POS comes out of reinforcement.  Not the most exciting pvp though.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The plan is a foot, but not a jar.

     I tend to have a graphical and literal thinking process, so every time I see or hear "afoot", "ajar" or similar words, it always makes me chuckle.  I know I didn't spell the words like that in the subject, but that was the point.

     Anyway, the toons are progressing nicely in the plan for universal domination and ass-lamination.  The toons all have their level 5 implants in, and I just need one more Highwall and Michi's for minig yield boosts.  The scanning toon has two implants for scanning, and the orca/boss toon has her leadership and mining implants in.  The other jump clones will have implants more specific to certain tasks like research and manufacturing when the time comes.

     The toons all have their spaceship 5 done up, and all their navigation skills, at least the primary ones, are up to level 4.  Right now they are working their way through the mechanic skills.  Lots of eye-candy skills in there, but they'll all get their armour resists and the base skills up to 4 ( a couple are already 5s) plus they'll get remote repping skills (for fleets and POS repair) and a few of them that regularly get used for salvage duties will get their salvage up to 4 as well.

     I still want a few more implants as well as a freighter, and looking through some of the COSMOS missions, a blockade runner might not be a bad thing either, so I'll build up a stockpile of about 2.5 billion isk maybe, to take care of those and make sure I have enough of a bank roll to take me through the period of time for the COSMOS part of the plan.  It's rather satisfying to get the cyber 5 skill done as that is the biggest skill point earning factor that is over and done with.  Slowly going through all the skills prior to starting the mission phase is also quite enjoyable because one or more skills complete almost every day.  A nice change from waiting for weeks for a skill completion message, but I know that will change once I have predominantly Lvl 4s in all the skills.  If all holds to plan, I still should be ready to head off to the COSMOS by the end of Sept, and I might even be slightly ahead of the skill training cue by the time that comes and I should have a fairly healthy bank roll to boot.

     In the next few weeks, I'll start reading up on what skills I want to/need to train for manufacturing and get on those during the COSMOS mission running phase plus start topping up the last 3 orca pilot skills from 4 to 5.

The Point?  "Keep to the code".  Follow the plan, don't be distracted by shinies!  Easier said, than done though . .

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Roids, and smashing them.

     I'm not sure exactly what it is about my personality that makes mining more tolerable.  In other MMOs I haven't minded grinding for certain aspects like rep or funky uber items, at least to a point.  I guess, that "point" is the . . point.  Everyone's point is at a different point, and some thresholds for boredom/monotony/nose-bleeds are at a lower point than other's.

     Solo mining is definitely not the most exciting aspect of game play, but it is mediated by other activities that one can do simultaneously, or at least at the same time.  Solo mining allows one to read, listen to music, watch Youboob videos, do copious amounts of Eve-related research, etc.  Something that takes away from the boredom though, is running multiple toons.

     Going from one toon to two seems like a big deal, but you quickly get used to running two boats, either as a miner/transport pair, a miner/miner pair shuttling to station, or a miner/miner jet canning for later pick up with a transport boat.  If there are a lot of dickheads about, obviously the jetcan option gets dodgy, so I usually used a miner and a transport with a mining laser on it in a .9 or 1.0 sec system where I could use mining drones without worrying about rats popping my drones.  Slightly lower security systems can also be handled by splitting up the drone fleet a little and adding a hob or two into the mix to lay some pew pew on the rats.  Two toons becomes routine fairly fast too though, so the options of concurrent activities comes back again.

     I've seen lots of mention of multi-boxing, but couldn't find any examples of how people were actually doing it.  Some people obviously use multiple computards, but that seems like a lot of hassle for me, plus, I don't have an extra laptop kicking around, and the extra computers aren't on suitable desks or close enough to be practically used at the same time.  As mentioned before, my box-stock HP seems to have the HP (short for "horsepower" in this case, but ALSO, short for Hewlett Packard.  Synchronicity is crazy, right?! :)) to run multiple clients, so I just do that.  Much more simple and while I started with a single monitor, after the better-half got a new computer, I used her old 17" monitor for a 2nd screen, so that was a bonus.  I set the Eve client to optimize the graphics for memory and so far, I've been having no issues.  The stupid station environment is an absolute memory hog and completely useless to me ATM, so I have that turned off.  I guess I won't always have that option though.

     For any mining, I just leave a bookmark in the can as the place holder.  If you use a single piece of ore, it can easily get scooped up by accident.  A bookmark is easy to identify.  If some sad, little can flipper rolls in, the best he gets is a bookmark, as I don't load the can with ore until the transport gets back.  If the can flipper has nothing better to do than sit there, I just fill up the orca and transport with it.  I'll take the transport toon and either put him in a miner too, or jump from belt to belt and slavage any wrecks laying around, or just for lolz, I'll see if I can bash the flipper around a little bit while waiting for the orca to fill, if he decides to just sit there motionless.  Also, if I'm going to leave the can for any length of time, I'll name it with the time I jettisoned the can so I know how old it is.  If I'm dropping a lot of cans that aren't going to be around any longer than about an hour, I'll just number them so I know what sequence to pick them up in with my transport.  With multiple toons, I'd just set each toon to concentrate on a specific type of ore so any "beam crossing" (DON'T CROSS THE BEAMS!! :)) is delayed until the end when few roids are left.  The transport toon holds extra mining crystals in station and brings them out if/when a crystal pops on one of the mining toons.  Depending on how I feel and where I'm mining, I'll run mining drones and swap them for hobs to deal with rats, or just leave hobs out all the time, or just run mining drones in .9/1.0 systems.  If rats are, or can be, about, I'm generally lazy and leave the hobs out all the time.

Two Clients
     So, initially with one screen, this is how I ran two toons windowed.  I just listened for the voice messages notifying me that the roids were popped and then I just switch back and forth.  I kept a bookmark in a jetcan and didn't transfer ore into it from the miner unless the transport was present.  Depending on the system, there would be nasty can flippers come along, but if they persisted in trying to flip the empty can, I just switched to shuttle mining and they'd get bored and leave in search of more easily aggravated targets.  Others run multiple clients full screen, but I like to keep things in sight.  I just keep an eye on cargo hold capacity, listen to/for the voice prompts and that's it.  This also works well for one mission runner and one salvager.  While I have a 24" flat screen monitor, this also works on a 17" too.  I mentioned before that while it's cool to look at the ship, for me, I quickly get more interested in the information rather than the pretty pictures so I arrange things so I can see the information I need, not to look at ships with pretty lines coming from them.

     With two screens, I ran one client on each screen, or stacked like this when I was using the other screen with a browser.

Three Clients
     With three toons, this is how I stacked the windows on one screen if/when I was using the 17" for tooling around the web and reading.  When I went to three toons, that seemed like a huge management step-up from two, but the biggest thing with any set-up, is process.  Once you get an efficient system, and the efficiency develops out of necessity, the time management load really drops off.  After another short period of time, you find you have ample time to do other things while two barges mine while a transport shuttles.  If I wasn't reading, I'd have two barges on the one screen and the transport on the 17".

     If the system was good, and by "good" I mean angry little can flippers were nowhere to be seen and/or a low population in local, I'd jetcan about an hour's worth and then put one toon in a transport to scoop up the cans, then switch back to a barge.  An Iteron 4/5 or a Mammoth is easily up to this task, and a Bestower can do it to but on the lower end of capacity.  Definitely aim for an Iteron or a Mammoth, not loser Bestowers like I did :)

Four Clients
     Big step up in information management again, but if I kept the mining barges on the one screen and the transport on the 17", it was easier to keep track of cargo capacity.  As my process became more efficient and I was using the 17" screen for other things (like Minecraft or WOT), with the Eve client at 1024 x 768 resolution, the 4 clients stacked nicely on the left side and I could keep track of cargo and lasers with no problems.  I'd only have the option of playing other games at the same time if I was ice mining as the longer cycle times and the huge ice roids cut down on the amount of attention Eve needed.  Too many rocks to keep track of to play other games if I was mining roids.

     Same as with three clients, in a good system, I'd jetcan for an hour then take the lowest SP toon and transport to station to empty the cans, then switch back and continue mining.  With 3 hulks and a retriever, I could do about one can every 6 or 7 minutes, depending on the roid size.

Five & Six Clients
     With 5 clients, running 5 miners on high sec ores is tough because once the roids start popping, it's tough to efficiently keep up.  The laser down-time that ends up happening makes it less efficient sometimes than running 4 miners.  That could be just me though.  Someone who can think and move faster than I would likely have no problem.  For me though, I run the 4 miners on one screen and the transport separately on the other screen which also has a scanner and a salvager, and sometimes a mining laser.  If I'm running 4 miners and an Orca, I have a transport for the lowest SP toon to switch out on when the Orca is full, and run the orca toon on the small screen by itself.  After the Orca is done jet-canning the ore, I switch the toon back into the mining barge til the Orca is full again.  Alternately, I'll also run 3 miners and the orca on the one screen, and run the scanning toon in full screen on the 17" while I look for grav sites.

     With 6 clients, I put the 4 dedicated miners on one screen, and run the orca and transport toon on the small screen, also in 1024 x 768.  When I'm looking for grav sites with the scanner toon, I'll run the orca and 3 miners on the same screen, and the scanner and transport toon on the smaller screen.

     For ratting or missions, I'll run a couple combat ships with a salvager and let the others just sit and break rocks with hulks shuttling back and forth.  For pvp, I'll generally concentrate on 2 boats full screen at most, usually with one cloaky scout and one actually in the pvp mix.  I won't mine at the same time.  In time, I'd like to be able to run two scouts and one pvp, or even 2 pvp and one scout - but that is more about pvp experience and being comfortable with pvp ops, rather than just running multiple toons.

The Point?  With pretty much a bog-standard HP computer (<$1000), multiple clients can be run if you aren't too worried about being able to see every rivet and paint scratch.  Also, you very quickly adapt and are able to process ( . . . as in, with your eyes and brain) multiple clients simultaneously.

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.