Foremost I’m a solid WH bear. Shooting sleepers all evening and drinking beer at the pos all night. As well as of course valiantly defending our WH and possibly other WH’s we stumble upon from evil invaders (i.e. everyone not in our alliance).
However, that’s not the full story. I also have an aspiration to do honorable space combat with other players. Well maybe not THAT honorable, but pvp none the less. I’ve done agony courses to learn the basics and fly in small and not so small gangs trough syndicate with the guys from agony, and can often be found in the ball of fail that is rvb ganked, rolling around nullsec blobbing everything in it’s path until the locals decide it’s time to send this sensor boosted ball of bears back to hi-sec.
For a time, that was enough, just blobbing my way into pvp. amount of effort required; 1/150th, 1/30th depending on the size of the fleets, and whether it was an agony roam that was doing small gang tactics or ganked lemming’ing trough sov null.
But it just wasn’t enough, not nearly enough. What I wanted to do was solo pvp, that entirely other beast. Where the amount of effort required is 1/1 or depending on the odds maybe 4/1. Where all those lessons of keeping transversal, range, cap manipulation, etc.. etc.. mattered upmost, because you are not a single grunt among many, you are the only target on the field and you are always primary.
I tried, first in lowsec genesis from before we lived in a WH. But then the bleak reality of solo pvp was made bare. Finding targets. Jump after jump, after jump. No targets. Flying around in my then t1 fitted AC/bleeder punisher. Occasionally getting whelped by a roaming gang, but engagable targets were not often found. Most of all, my enthusiasm died not from lack of skill, but from sheer boredom.
Then a few months ago, I made an alt and flew it to Molden heath with nothing but a t1 rifter fitted so cheap I’d probably stand to make a profit by getting it killed. Molden heath on advice of my then ex-corp mate Kaeda maxwell who had joined the ranks of the black rebel rifters and could always tell a good story of yet another kill he had managed to make.
While there wasn’t exactly a lack of targets this time, the most often found targets consisted of highly skilled pirates, flying faction frigates who indeed had no scruples at all with my t1 fitted rifter engaging them. The outcome of those battles however is more predictable then buying last years lottery ticket. Again I felt discouraged, and my enthusiasm was gone again. The skill gap was just too big and I couldn’t or didn’t want to invest in faction frigates just to learn solo pvp.
Then not even a week ago it was made evident that trough honorable defensive engagements from our alliance we had almost made a thousand kills. One of my corp directors took this as an perfect opportunity for a contest. Whomever could score the 1000th kill would get the worth of the destroyed ship as a prize; With some sensible rules being applied like that kaeda and extended alt family was excluded from said contest. Of course this didn’t stop kaeada from trying; no rule without a loophole. But alas, the goal of the director was to get some more people interested in pvp, not to hand out free money to a thoroughbred pirate.
The contest sprung a bit of a small discussion in chat and I complained about my woe’s with solo pvp. Both said director and kaeda then pointed towards the trasher, cheap, disposable and with a much wider range of engagable targets.
That small flame of solo pvp started to burn again. I still had a few trashers lying about in stacmon from old agony roams, and I decided what the heck. I might as well try it.
The trasher was however artty fit, geared towards a full gang of ships to alpha targets. So I jumped on my beloved pyfa. (I’m quite the EFT warrior even if I do say so myself. A lot cheaper then actually flying all the fits I come up with.) I quickly converted the alpha monster into a frigate munching machine. High on tracking and dps with a neut to boot.
I decided to set my course from stacmon to 31-MLU. A route I know quite well because of all the agony roams I’ve done. It also includes a trip to Poitot, which is the only named system in syndicate. After dodging a few roaming fleets I happened upon an Enyo sitting at a tac at a gate in X-M2LR, piloted by no less then an agony member.
I quickly considered it, and decided I wanted to engage. As he warped down towards the gate I quickly followed suit and we locked each other up. I wondered if he would jump, but instead he opened fire. I happily yet nervously returned the gesture in kind.
The battle was close, perhaps a little bit too close. About half way trough it looked like he would end up being the victor. My meager tank was dropping fast, while his wasn’t dropping all that fast anymore. I then remembered some fights I’ve had earlier in molden heath, where I would successfully orbit my targets at close range denying them good hits. Those dastardly pirates would without fail try to pull away, disrupting my orbit, lowering transversal and making my rifter go *poof*.
I double clicked in space, tried to unsuccessfully cycle my MWD because I was scrammed, but then magic happened. His tank broke, so had mine and I was already in structure, just one or two more hits. My guns cycle and his ship enters structure, only 50% structure left. I get hit, 20% structure left. He gets hit. *poof*, and only his wreck is left.
While shaking behind my keyboard I manage to throw a GF in local while his pod jumps the gate. I loot his wreck, fly to 31-MLU and dock. My first real solo kill. A fair fight, and I won. By a hair, but won none the less.
After a good long break and telling everyone I’ve managed to kill a spaceship in a virtual spaceship game. (I’m sure my grandmother was happy to hear from me regardless) I undock.
I undock feeling confident, feeling bullish, feeling like I can take on the world in my trasher. As I land on the outgate I see a vexor. “a vexor. that’s a cruiser. I can try that” I think as I swoop in and engage the vexor. Then suddenly out of nowhere drones, drones fucking everywhere, my shields dropping rapidly, then my armour then *poof* I’m in my pod again, and back from cloud 9 to the harsh reality of eve. Drones are bad.
Target selection still needs some work. But I’m in bat country now, and I’m not stopping.
Well actually that’s a lie. I went to bed after that, but the very next day, I stepped in my bestower set course for Dodixy and bought myself 50M worth of Trasher fits. Well actually 47M for 5 fully fitted Trashers, but who’s counting. Either way the money was my prize for killing the Enyo.
back in stacmon I quickly rip off the packing material and fit my new best friend, my new trasher, to be fueled by the perforated pieces of frigate.
Again I set course to 31-MLU, hoping for a replay of yesterday. But it wasn’t to be, I roamed a bit aimlessly, narrowly escaping an outbreak enyo heavy frigate fleet, 20 strong. But after an hour of roaming I was rewarded. On my d-scan i spotted an ishkur. Again, a drone boat *ugh*. But a frigate this time. Perhaps baby steps will help.
I bounce around system trying to track down this ishkur, but it disappears into the void, or potentially the next system. But it gets replaced with something. Something good, something yummy, something my trasher was made to kill.
A rifter. A honest to god rifter. A … well ok I think you get the point, it’s a rifter. So I scan him down, he’s sitting at the outgate. As I land, the rifter is on grid with me; At a tac some 250km away. I wait a bit, hoping it might want to be a hero rifter. But no such luck.
So I decide to warp to a nearby planet and immediately warp back in anticipation that he will meanwhile warp down and I can perhaps give chase.
As I am making my u-turn at the nearest planet I notice something peculiar on d-scan. A second rifter. I enter warp back to the outgate and the rifters have multiplied while i was away. One still sitting on it’s perch and another calmly sitting at 0 on the gate.
I lock it up. Luckily this rifter is a well trained hero rifter and opens fire. Again I can do nothing less then return in kind. I lose about 2/3’s of my shield but reduce the honorable rifter to a pile of ductape and metal scraps.
I pat myself on the back, and warp to an offgrid spot to regen my shield a bit, while hoping that other rifter won’t stray too far, for I have plans for him too.
A bit later as I warp back to the gate those damn rifters seem to have done it again. I hit d-scan and again two rifters. As I land on the gate, so does a new rifter and the one sitting on a tac has since moved itself to the gate.
I’ve done 1v1 now, but 1v2? I’m not sure. Not sure if I can win that. My ego still put in place by yesterdays lesson in mortality by the vexor.
But then I remember a tactic that Caldak from agony often used. Splitting the other fleet by letting opponents aggress and jumping out. 2 rifters isn’t exactly a fleet, but who knows.
I figure it’s better then nothing and wait patiently while locking up both rifters. After a few seconds of dancing one of them goes from yellow to red and I hit the jump button. “Haha it worked” I say to myself in an empty room. “But what is that? A third pilot from the same corp in local”. I hit d-scan and see a claw, a fucking interceptor. No doubt fit to kite me at 20km’s denying me any chance at catching it.
But meanwhile the other rifter that didn’t aggress has jumped already and I take the challenge of killing the rifter before the claw starts kiting me to death. As I open fire on the rifter the claw lands on grid. 13km’s from my location. “lucky”, It then starts to orbit me at a close orbit. “whut?!” Meanwhile the first rifter goes *poof*.
I’m unsure why this claw thought this was a good plan, but I wasn’t going to ask the good and kind pilot for his underlying reasoning while I could just as well pump the ship full of phased plasma.
The claw goes down fast, but just before it goes *poof* I hear a gate flash. That second rifter has decided to sneak a peak and decides to engage. My shields at this point where already down, armor at about 80%. But it mattered not, for this is my trasher, and while there may be many this one is mine and it will damn well reduce this rifter to a pile of smoldering wreckage for my amusement.
So it was said, and so it was done. However, as a theme that is now fast becoming unwanted, while in battle with the rifter a new ship lands. An Ishkur; In fact, the very same ishkur I spotted earlier. I was down to 30% armour, this wasn’t going to end well.
But in for a penny, in for a pound, and as the rifter goes *poof* and i get scrambled by the Ishkur. I make a valiant attempt, but again with the drones, those god awful drones. Not even half his shield gone and I go down in flames.
But with a satisfied smile that my first 1v3(+1) was a success, even if only in my own mind, I make my way back to hi-sec. Already itching to unpack my next trasher.