Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Poor Trade

It's late night.  Corp night is done.  We killed off our local four anoms.  Then we instantiated our static wormhole to go looking for a good C4b.  After three tries, we decide to give up on the idea of running anoms.  The other guys leave one by one.  I stay on to hunt.

The chain is long and tedious.  C4b through our static has a tower but nobody home.  It has its own C4 static, to C4c, which is empty.  Then a diversion to a C6, occupied but nobody home.  It has lots of wormholes to null, and one C3.  The C3 is has a tower and nobody home, and many sigs.  Too many; I leave after verifying there's nobody around.  Then back to C4c, and into C5a, which again is occupied but nobody home.  I am sensing a pattern here.  Well, I will try once more.  C5b, where I dscan the inner system to find a tower and nobody home.  But wait!  There is still the outer system.

I fly out.  There is a tower and a Venture on scan; that's novel.  Is it at the tower?  Dscan says not.  Aha.  It's a hunt!

I am in my Manticore, but I figure it is worth trying the hunt, if only for practice.  So I warp to the inner system out of dscan range of the Venture, deploy my probes, then go through the whole hunting process.
Preparing to scan.
I find the distance to the Venture (4.5 AU), and set my probes to 4AU scanning so that I can eyeball 4AU easily.  Then I get a rough bearing, and move my probes to center there.  Now I refine the bearing.  30 degrees, 15 degrees.  The last step is 5 degrees, and that takes a while.  Once I get it to 5 degrees, I set my probes to 0.5 AU and scan.  I figure that 0.25AU is too tight for the variance I have; it is likely to miss altogether or return a non-point hit.  0.5AU is better.  I can get the scan in two tries if it is a core gas site.  If not, I should get it in one scan.

The hit comes back at 20%, with two dots.  It is a core site.  So I have to scan again, which I do as fast as I can.  When I get the 100% hit on the site, I pull the probes.  (It is a Vital Core Reservoir.)  I don't warp directly to the site, since it is rather too steeply "above" where I am.   (Gas clouds can decloak you and they are oriented up/down from the warp-in point.) Instead I bounce off a more inward planet about 10AU off, and then warp to the site at 50km.  I expect to see the Venture has fled, but it is there.  Hurrah for me.  On grid with a target; that's kind of a small victory.
On grid with game.  Woo.
Can I kill it?  Not in a Manticore.  I'll have to go back home to reship to have a chance.  It would be nice to have a Manticore for this, with light missiles.  Maybe I should make a ship like that.  But I think I will just use my Tengu.  It's worked on Ventures before.

As I am thinking that, suddenly the Venture turns and warps.  Oh, well.  I follow it into the inner system to see where it goes.  But it is not in the inner system.  It's not anywhere, unless it cloaked.  So, my guess is he is not local -- a daytripper.  He probably warped to a wormhole and out.

I am about to leave the system to go home for the night, when I dscan again and see... a Venture.  Hmm.  Maybe he was just dumping gas.  If he is from known space I don't expect he has the system scanned down, so he may not notice the new sig.  He disappears from dscan.  I warp back out to the Vital Core Reservoir and sure enough, there he is sucking gas.

Well.  He'll be here now for ~30 minutes.  That means I have time to run home and change ships.  So I think I'll do that.  Back across this system, then into C5a.  Then to C4c, C4b, C4a.  Home.  Across home.  Reship into my Tengu.  I fit it up: two warp scramblers instead of its ghostbusting mids.  And I put a 100mn afterburner on, just in case.  Then back down the chain: across home, to C4b, C4c, C5a, and C5b.  Across the system to the gas site at 20km.  Is the Venture still here?

It is.  And there is something odd: I can see ships out in space that don't appear on my overview.  WTF?  Ah.  They are Prospects, which I have never seen before this, and of course it would never occur to CCP to make them appear by default on people's overview if they have, say, mining frigates checked.  I add expedition frigates to my overview.   And there they are.  Now I have two more things I might hunt.
Hey.  Prospects.
I'd prefer to go after a Prospect than the Venture, because they are costlier.  But the Prospects are mining the larger cloud, the C540.  So they are pretty far from me, and also they are going be harder to intercept.  So I stick with plan A: go for the Venture.

I move in towards the C320 cloud, which the Venture is circling.  I get close, and the Venture has just passed me.  Now it's coming at me, and I move a bit in.  This is it.  I uncloak.  Then I try to lock, which is frustrating because of the 4s delay.  Eventually I start locking, but before I can finish, the Venture zooms.  It had a good reaction time.  The Prospects also vanish.  I'm left alone in the site, and I move off and cloak.  The Venture disappears from my scan.

I notice that the C320 cloud is gone.  Of all the bad luck, it appears that the Venture just finished sucking it as I was going for him.  That's probably why he reacted so fast.

I slowly sail away from the gas, so I am safe.  I start writing this.  I spend five minutes tappity tappity, then there's something on overview.  Mirabile dictu, the Venture warps back in to the site and starts sucking gas!

Well, that sure looks like bait, but he could just be stupid.  And I have my get-out-of-jail 100mn.  Also, I have not found much PVP for weeks.  So, I figure the risk is worth it.  I am going for it.

I am about 80km off from the cloud, so it takes a while to move back.  I maneuver into the path of the Venture... it circles once and I am 70km away, then again at 50km, then again at 30.  It passes me just 10km off on the next lap.  I could uncloak but it would be out of range before I could scramble it.
Almost close enough.
One more lap.  I wait... and I uncloak.  I lock, which seems to take forever, but he does not warp.  I turn on my systems; I have him.  Ha ha!

But he is headed back at me.  What?  Oh.  Warp scrambled.  Trap.  A Pilgrim uncloaks.  What's a Pilgrim?  Some T2 cruiser, I know.  Amarr, I think.  Not sure beyond that.  A second enemy uncloaks and deploys drones.  An Ishtar.  That's not good.  But I can outrun it.

I keep the missiles on the Venture, hoping to kill it then skedaddle.  It takes more rounds than I am used to.  This puzzles me, then I realize that is what you do with bait, duh.  But I eventually get the kill

It seems that Pilgrims are cap-drainer ships, because suddenly my capacitor is low.  I make a move to afterburn off, but before I get beyond one pulse, I have no cap.  Now I am screwed royally.  Ah, greed.  I betray myself.

They are killing me... and then they are not.  My shields hover near zero, even with both hardeners turned off due to no capacitor.  I have stopped shooting hoping to eject, but they have plenty of time to kill me.  I guess they want me to eject.  I see no way out, so there no reason to continue as is.  After my minute is up, I eject and warp.  They don't seem to try to stop me.  I send them a "gf" in local as I flee, as well as a "I knew I should not bite".  Which is sort of true, but not true enough.  My wormhole is clear, and I jump out.

That was a very bad trade.

I warp back home, down the long chain of shame: C5b, C5a, C4c, C5b, and finally C4a.  Poorer but maybe a little wiser.

Lessons learned: obvious bait is obvious.  Don't reengage, especially if you suspect bait.  Not unless you have eyes on the enemy at a chokepoint, at least, and maybe not then either.  No matter what escape you have, it can be countered.

Also, hunt in the right ship.  I am going to get a special Manticore for Ventures, so I can uncloak and pin them almost immediately.  Waiting 4s and the lock time is just too long.


  1. I went to the venture kill mail wondering what a bait fit looks like... left disappointed. It wasn't as tanky as I was expecting it to be. Shame about the neuting Pilgrim, you would have been fine otherwise.

  2. Yeah, I'd have expected a DCII at least. It looks to me like took the mining fit and just slapped on a scrambler and called it good. I.e. not planned ahead of time.

  3. I find it a bit strange you don't know the ship classes better since you do so much hunting. But maybe that's just my own bias.

    1. There are a lot of ships to memorize. I am in wspace, and playing in US time. So, I rarely meet any ships at all, and my learning curve is retarded. My PVP experience is laughable compared to a month-old character in lowsec.

      Plus, even if I can eventually ID a ship when given time, in combat there is no time for reflection and I try to write what I was thinking. So, if I ID a ship and know what it means, I write that. If I see a ship type without knowing exactly what it is in time to react in combat, then I try to write in a way to make my ignorance clear.

      But yeah, I need to learn what Pilgrims are. Maybe I should spend more time studying and less playing. (joke. Nah.)

    2. It is really true, there are so many ships.
      I can understand that. I come from sov-null, so I see a huge number of ships all the time, and it's kind of expected for everyone to know most of them, and if you're an FC you're expected to know all the shiptypes plus their bonuses and how they can be fit and flown.

  4. I've almost always had bad experiences when going for a second shot. The problem is, when that day comes when some naive pilot really does come back thinking all is clear again, we'll be too paranoid expecting a counter-ambush to even try catching him.

    I dunno why people persist in thinking soft targets are safe/risk-free targets.