Bored of the 0.0 grind and lack of targets I logged on my alt in Empire for a jaunt around lowsec. Looking at my hangar I found I still had a t2 fitted Arbitrator, a survivor of a previous lowsec gang. My old stomping grounds as a noob antipirate, then a noob pirate, beckoned.
Coming out of the docking bay I found myself taking pleasure again in simply piloting a ship. The sleek wedge of the Arbitrator made a quick turn and entered warp sharply, despite the oversized 1600mm armor plate. Checking my drone bay and laser crystals, everything seemed in order. The only fault I found was with my low-tier named webber. With luck I could find a more powerful one in the wreck of another craft.
Cleared for publication by: Ander
Rest of story moved to extended body.
Checking local again a few systems later - bingo! Two young pilots from the same corp, with an aggressive corp name and mildly negative sec statuses. If the pilots were in well set-up cruisers they could easily emerge the winner from any confrontation. Even if I overpowered them I would likely get a good fight and an interesting conversation about Eve PVP and lowsec hunting. Perhaps I would learn something new as well. Even after more than a year I am still learning from my mistakes and those of others.
Several warps and 360 scans later, I was beginning to fear that they were docked, or in a distant mission deadspace. Then I came out of warp at my exit gate, to see a caracal and blackbird sitting there. Hmm. Engaging under sentries would be a dicy proposition at best. Perhaps if I warped to a planet they would follow. With sentry guns out of the picture, I had to lock early and get my drones on that blackbird, which would almost certainly be fitted with ecm jammers. Then it would be down to my drones killing it before my tank gave-
What the hell? I had locked them as a halfhearted bait, and so they might follow if I warped later, but the caracal was redboxing. I launched drones and the instant the blackbird flagged my valkyrie IIs were on it. Two cruisers engaging a combat ship under sentries was near-suicidal, and already both ships were suffering badly before my damage became felt. The blackbird popped very quickly, and I shifted my disruptor and web to the caracal which was frantically shield boosting. Then there was another explosion. My armor was barely scratched.
I gave them a "gf" in local for a spirited attempt, and we talked about tactics and setups for a while. I also paid the blackbird pilot 500k for his killmail. I felt a little bad that we hadn't fought at a planet or belt, but the blackbird had no ecm so I was confident the outcome would have been the same.
Moving on I found a moa in a belt in a nearby system. Warp in, scram, the poor railship popped very quickly leaving a few hundred k worth of loot. Oh well. I guess I should have ransomed, but I do like killmails too much and I have enough isk. Perhaps I'm what's bad about pirating these days, but that's Eve, I guess. Feeling fairly satisfied I docked and logged for the night. 3 cruiser kills, albeit due to the mistakes of the other pilots. With luck I would get better fights tomorrow.
Argh. Still unwell. Can't sleep. Time to fire up the arbitrator again and see what I can catch. Not sure if I can concentrate to talk to people, but I certainly can hunt them and take their stuff.
A few systems on - an assault frigate! A hawk class, ahead of me in a belt. This could be interesting. A dual extended hawk or harpy is a very tough cookie. I warped in and slipped on my scram, hitting approach and my mwd as the hawk tried to burn out of range. Not fast enough - my webber went on. A few seconds later I noticed I was also webbed and scrambled, although my inertia carried me to point-blank. My small tech-2 pulse laser and nos went on, and out went the drones. I tracking disrupted, then turn it off remembering this is a hawk not a harpy and my 'balmer' will be useless. I started to take damage, although not very much. The hawk was shield boosting! Unfortunate for it. I was now sure the fight would swing my way, and under fire from the belt npc and my arbi the assault frig popped.
Checking the can gave a few tech II goodies, but less than any ransom would have been for. The pilot didn't seem too upset, which I was glad about. I've lost enough ships, there's no real point getting upset about it. Trust me on this.
E**** > gf
K** R**** > damn drones
K** R**** > yeah gf
The targets seem thinner on the ground tonight. Several systems showed groupings of outlaws and pvpers in the same corps, making me wary of engaging in case of a trap. I hate to miss a good fight, but being popped half way through by someone's recon buddy, or their entire corp in battleships, does put a damper on your fun. I did see a prophecy in a belt, but I guessed who he was and he had a corpmate in local. I docked for five, and his corpmate left. I went hunting again, but before I could narrow him down he also left the belts and jumped to another system. Damn. Prophecy would be a good fight for my little arbi... as long as it was alone.
Desperate for another target, I headed into Old Man Star. Surely I'd find some PVP there. The system is right next to hisec, but is 0.3, and often attracts an appealing mixture of noob ratters, noob pvpers, pirates, antipirates, and wandering ganksquads. Last time I was hunting here we attacked two ships which were already fighting each other in a belt. I like this system.
Some t2 stuff on scan, hacs and a command, and a chimera. Not very appealing for a lone arbi. Warping about a few times the system cleared a bit. Finally I warped to a safe near an outlying planet, and got a thrasher on scan. Destroyer. Hmm. Usually I leave these alone as noobs, but I had a suspicion it might be one of the pirates in local. I could always warp in on him then leave if he's a noob. I narrowed him down to a planet, rather than a belt. Must be a pvper then, probably hunting for me by scanning the belts from the central planet. I warped to the planet, and see an outlaw ahead. My heart started beating. Best pop him and get out, in case he has friends. I know that outlaw status isn't always a guarantee of a good pvper, but the flashy red makes the heart beat faster all the same. You have to respect outlaws. It makes the game harder in all kinds of ways.
We both hit our MWDs and head towards each other at full speed. I know an artillery Thrasher is a nasty little boat, and one that can probably escape me if not pop me, so I want to get my web on him and get him in close. He coasts right into range, gets webbed and scrammed, starts doing some good damage, but his armor goes down fast. Pop. Checking the can nets some nice t2 mods, including autocannons and a mwd, maybe 5mil worth. It is harder to make isk at piracy after the t2 price decreases, but even so I've paid for my arbi tonight.
N****** > covops?
E**** > ^^
T**** S**** > where?
N****** > gf, if a bit mismatched
E**** > yeah, gf
I didn't say outright that I just found him on scanner. I might want to fight him at a planet again. He was right it was a bit mismatched, but still better fights than yesterday. Maybe tomorrow will be better still...
Yawn. Wish I could sleep at the right time. Time to get my Arbi on.
Not much out today. Out of pure boredom I sit at gates and see one of the autopiloting macro haulers which infest space around here. Confident my 1600 plate will protect me from sentries, I web, scram, and stick my drones on it. It seems forever before it pops, and my armor is now getting pretty low. Fortunately the deed is done before sentries switch to my precious drones. Checking the can shows only junk, and I frantically spam warp to a planet. Aligning takes a few seconds, and I arrive with a few % of armor left and a slight nick to my structure. Oh well, a kill is a kill.
Still flagged, I spot an ishkur on scanner. This could be a good fight! Assault frigs are generally felt to be underpowered, but most think the ishkur is the best of the lot. He does have a corpmate in local, although the friend is a relatively new player. Interesting. Scanning planets, I finally get him on 5% and warp to a belt.
Damn. Two fat battlecruiser NPCs, and no ishkur. Scanning quickly, I see he's back at the planet behind me. Not wanting to be engaged with both rats on me, I warp to the planet.
Nothing. Scanner says he's now in the belt! Cue Benny Hill music. I turn right around and warp back.
Bingo. One ishkur, with drones out, attacking one of the NPCs. Oh well, now he'll have to tank the rats and me. Beggars can't be choosers, and Eve PVP isn't all honorable duels paced out at 10 kilomeres. I still have his corpmate to worry about, after all.
Disrupt on. I'm so glad of this 24k scram; if I had only one tech II mod on here, this would be it. Once, on another character, a pirate thorax escaped my 20k scram on my arbi by about 500m. He then smacked in local for ten minutes solid. I wasn't going to let that happen again. It was really irritating.
Back to the ishkur. Again my target turns and tries to burn to range, but 10mn mwd> 1mn afterburner, and he's quickly webbed. He pops remarkably quickly. I see another small shape flash on my overview, and speed around my screen. It's his corpmate, but he's in a Vigil! A tiny but fast minmatar frigate, good at holding people down. Unfortunately he's well within web range, probably due to the cap problems new frigate pilots have in running 20k disruptors. He also pops very quickly once webbed. I scoop everything, including the ishkur's abandoned Hobgoblin IIs. The ishkur pilot isn't very happy about me engaging with the rats on him. I suppose I'm not either, but he shouldn't have stayed in the belt then.
I dock up for the night, happy with my take. Only about a mil, if that, but I do get a nice x5 webber to replace my old one with. There are few things more satisfying than fitting your ships with the loot of others that you took from them yourself. I slept soundly after that.
Another hour of prowling nets me an enyo in a belt. It died easy, though it did take a good chunk out of one of my drones before succumbing. Not much for loot unfortunately. So far my solo arbitrage has scored 3 af, 3 cruiser, 1 destroyer, 1 frig, 1 hauler, for no losses. Looks good on the killboard, but a few ransoms would have helped my wallet more. Seems like it's more worthwhile ransoming these days than it used to be, and less worthwhile killing. At least in belt piracy. Missions and gates are probably different.
I really should be getting back to 0.0. Time to take some risks.
Myrmidon on scan. 6 month old player. Alone in local, but in a system with quite a lot of traffic. If he has a scram, and web, and ogre drones, I'm probably dead.
I slip into warp anyway, already wondering if this was a mistake.
Myrmidon dead ahead, pounding a cruiser rat. I scram, web, tracking disrupt, and burn like hell towards him. He quickly webs me. I'm not sure if I'm scrammed or not, but in my mind I'm committed. I coast to a near-stop at about 6km.
Whatever his guns are, he's pounding me from here and this isn't looking good. My armor is taking a bit of a beating. His drones, however, are only hobgoblin Is! Made more confident by this, I burn towards him more, bleeding off most of my cap. If he has rails, I want to get right up close and personal. My 3 small nos kick in, actually working now my cap is lower. I turn on my small armor repairer II, and pray. His armor is dropping very slowly, the dps overcoming his repper tank by only a little. My armor is stable, and I'm orbiting at 500m while webbed. His guns aren't hitting me!
His setup may be lacking in some ways, but he uses it well. He burned away to about 1500m, and now his guns are hitting solidly even through the tracking disruption. I burn my own mwd once more, and the dps lessens for a while, but he manages to gain some range again and I simply don't have the cap to keep up. Already I'm running my pulse laser and my repper on and off. Damage seems to be leaking through our respective tanks at the same rate. However, I know that I have a damage control II, and damage controls have saved my ass in more fights than I care to mention.
My armor is still dropping. 15%, then 10%, then 5%. My laser has been off for some time now, and I squeeze a rep cycle out of the last of my cap, then another. We both enter structure at the same time. Concerned about the damage from the rails, I stop "orbiting", as my ship was just approaching instead, and manually pilot to give myself some transversal.
He's dropping! Far more quickly than me, although my hull is going down too. With a satisfying pop the myrmidon explodes. My hull is at 51%, and I'm on fire.
Not much in the wreck except a cap recharger II. Maybe I should have tried a ransom, but if I were him I wouldn't have went for one during that fight. It was way too close.
E**** > gf
O**** A**** > lol
O**** A**** > yea
O**** A**** > TY
O**** A**** > didnt think I was gonna hold so long with those npcs around
E**** > myrm is a nice ship
Next door I see an interceptor warping from belt to belt. Even with the warrior IIs in my bay, I don't fancy my chances against a fast ceptor which could outrun my drones and hold me down until his friends got here. Perhaps once I have heat, I'll try with overheated mwd and web to catch 'ceptors, but my natural wariness (read cowardice) warns me off for now.
Later I find a belt caracal and pop it, hoping for arbalest heavies, you never know. Instead there are just assault and light missile launchers, and a strange mix of shield mods. The newish caracal pilot is upset, and claims to have no ship left and be leaving Eve. Being a terrible pirate, I send him some isk and give him some advice on not losing more caracals (warping to belts at range and using heavies) and making more isk (missions>lowsec ratting). I'm not sure that he listens to any of it, so maybe Eve won't be for him anyway, but at least it won't be me who drove him away.
I think I'm done with lowsec for the moment, but I'm sure it won't be long before the piracy bug bites again. Next time I may use a harbringer, and/or be in a gang, opening up a bunch of harder targets that I'd have evaded before. Maybe I'll have some truly dramatic stories to tell. Maybe I'll explode hilariously before killing anything. Only the future will show.
Kalrissa - #1 - 2007-11-23 12:22 -
I ripping good tale Pew. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and your knowledge of ships and their respective preferred fittings is impressive. I hope to hear more from you and good luck in the future.
Ant - #2 - 2007-11-23 12:49 -
damn damn DAMN DAAAAAMN HOW in the name of fu*k do you ppl find so many goddamn targets? HOOOOOOW?
It takes me whole week of play to kill as much as you kill in evening or two!!!!!!
Spyke - #3 - 2007-11-23 13:06 -
we are glad to see another loves the arbi as much as we
though our setups differ largely in respects
We Are Very Proud ^.^
flashfresh - #4 - 2007-11-23 13:39 -
I agree with Kalrissa, a ripping good yarn there. Yarr.
Well done, love to read more.
drakarian - #5 - 2007-11-23 18:08 -
How on earth did you pull that fitting off!? I've been playing around in eft and with max skills I can't come close.
pewpewpew - #6 - 2007-11-23 22:45 -
Thanks for the positive comments guys.
Ant: There's a couple ways I get lots of targets, I won't say I don't "cheat" a little. I exploit a local intel channel to avoid gatecamps, and I know there aren't any huge concentrations of pvpers in the area at the moment (that might be changing). I have about 12 lowsec systems that I find are "less dangerous" for roving gangs that I hit. I then cycle around them again. My high sec status lets me enter a few "safer" lowsecs too as theyre bordered by 0.5s. I find I can scan all the belts and be on to a new system in two minutes or so. If I do run into a small gang gatecamping I can burn either away, tracking disrupting one guy, or back to the gate (probably won't work against more than one web, as my plate setup is very slow).
I'm also not usually on at peak times. I pirated another (mining) myrmidon at around peak time a couple days ago; the instant it popped another pirate cruiser came in. I was low on cap and below half armor so I burned away and luckily got out.
Drak: It's a small repper, small nos and a frigate class laser. A bit of a compromise, but I find it works well for me.
Ant - #6.1 - 2007-11-27 13:06 -
i also do all those things, i have scannig safe spots, i guess i'm simply hunting in bad regions...
anyway, great read!
Nam - #7 - 2007-11-26 06:44 -
Good stuff -- I was the guy in the AC Thrasher Hopeless against cruisers, but I had caught two T2 frigs in that system just a few minutes before you arrived The reason I figured it was a covops is that I warped to an SS rather than a planet; I guess that SS is a little closer than I thought.
In any case, nice clean kill, and good writing! Hope to see you about again; this area can always use more locals ready for a fight!
Observer - #7.1 - 2007-12-07 14:34 -
See this is one of the great things about eve-pirate, when people can have a nice chat about being killed by someone in a story rather than flaming.