Monday, 27 July 2009

A Month to Remember

It has been a very long but fun couple of weeks. Almost three weeks of numerous discoveries, new ships, and a slew of both gang and solo kills, both putting an end to my dry spell, culminating in the destruction of my brand new Jaguar (The now late Ascendant Horizons) and a rather funny hate mail from a disgruntled Brutix pilot.

Battle Atron

Inspired by the endeavors of Izzybella and Wensley, I decided to try out a different ship for roaming, namely, the Atron class frigate.

Like many of the low-tier frigate class ships, the Atron is often overlooked as a solo ship, usually enjoying limited use as a light tackler. Like all ships of its class (namely, all Tech I frigates geared towards speed, colloquially known as ‘Ceptor Precursors) the Atron has virtually no tank (other than a Damage Control II) but is still able to survive many engagements by virtue of its sheer speed. This nimble little frigate can reach over 1,000 m/s with an afterburner fitted and has an orbital velocity of 900 m/s at 2,500 meters, well able to get under the guns of almost any ship while maintaining comparatively good damage against its target.

After looking at several Atron fits, I decided to mix things up and put lasers on my ship. Lasers sacrifice DPS for better range, which equates to a greater orbital distance resulting in a higher angular velocity, thus playing to the strengths of ships of this class. With Scorch ammunition fitted, I am able to hit accurately at a range of 10,600 meters while maintaining a DPS of 54. I can do more damage with a Multifrequency S focusing crystal fitted although this reduces my range dramatically, to the point where I have to close my orbit to 500 meters to inflict any damage whatsoever on my target.

Tired of EFT worrioring and theory crafting, I instructed Courier, my highsec trader, to purchase me an Atron, complete with fittings. He happily shot off in his Wreathe class industrial ship, and returned with a disassembled Atron, complete with a full compliment of high-tech modules to use. My technical crew entered the hanger to assemble and fit the packaged ship, and, within minutes my Atron was fitted and ready to go. I ran an abbreviated on board systems check and prepped the ship for launch. Within minutes, my Atron roars out of the station into space.

The first thing I notice about the Atron is its maneuverability; the ship has a very tight turn even with an afterburner fitted. It also maintains a respectable speed while turning, thus reducing the likelihood of sustaining damage from high caliber guns. After several fleet ops, I am adamant that the Atron is more than just a viable combat ship.

The next day, I planned to go for a roam around Hulmate with my newfound ship. However, as I undocked, I found a fellow Atron class frigate sitting outside the station. After a minute or so of playing around with the target, attempting to get him to fight me, I bumped the pilot out of undock range and he engaged me.


I returned his lock, span up my weapon systems, launched my drone and activated my afterburner and tackling gear. My ship arced gracefully into a tight 2,500 meter orbit and my weapons began to land hits on the opponent. The pilot responded in kind, and fired upon me with a civilian blaster and rail gun. Within seconds, the opponents’ shields were overwhelmed and he entered armor. By contrast, my ship was holding at 80% shield integrity. With the target in structure, I opened a ransom channel and asked that he tell me a joke to save his ship. He failed to respond within the thirty seconds I allocated him and thus I popped his ship. A one-sided fight perhaps but a fun one nonetheless…

The final Flight of Ascendant Horizons

Since the beginning of my career in New Eden, I have always respected the Matari race for their willpower, ingenuity, innovation, and, not least of which, their seemingly uncanny ability to take a collection of wire mesh, girders, steel plating and the bare minimum of electronics and on-board engineering equipment (not forgetting spit, glue and copious amounts of duct tape to bind it all together) to produce some of the most feared ship-to-ship combat vessels to roam the space lanes of the New Eden cluster.

Within the first few weeks graduating from the Imperial Academy, I came to the realization that, for frigates, ships I imagined to be speedy and maneuverable, I would be better suited flying a different ship that the Amarrian Punisher class frigate. After consulting the guides of several older and more experienced pilots, I came to the conclusion that Minmatar ships would be the order of the day for light combat. Within a week of my graduation, I was as well spec’d in the Minmatar Rifter class frigate as I was in the Amarr Punisher.

I roamed far and wide in my Rifter, fighting targets more experienced than myself. I eventually came to love the Rifter for what it was: a fast, powerful and genuinely dangerous combat vessel. However, I longed for more. While the Rifter was fast and powerful, the defenses on the ship are lacking, to say the least. The ship relies primarily on its small signature radius and high-speed capabilities to see it through combat relatively unscathed while absorbing small amounts of damage with its armor plating and limited damage mitigation systems. While this is more than adequate in many situations, for example against ships fielding high caliber turrets, it also makes the ship relatively unforgiving; one mistake and you will usually find yourself waking up in a clone vat with a bad headache and much less equipment.

Fortunately, help came in the form of the Jaguar class assault frigate. The Jaguar is a combination of all of the aspects I want from such a frigate sized ship; it combines the speed of a Rifter with the firepower and survivability of a cruiser class vessel. After almost 4 months of intensive training, I was primed to see my dream come true. I had embarked on the final training courses required to effectively fly the jaguar class ship. The same day I embarked on my career of piracy, a very kind member of my ex corporation gave me 3 of the much loved assault ships on the condition that I do not destroy his much loved ships should I bump into him on my piracy career.

In short, I flew my jaguar far and wide, both and gangs and solo. I loved the speed and maneuverability of the ship; I could reach far greater speeds with the jaguar than that of the Rifter (1010 m/s as opposed to 989 m/s), inflict more damage (150 DPS vs. 109) and tank more damage (69 peak shield recharge as opposed to 34 armor rep).

The end of my jaguar came during an attempted extradition of one of our corps carriers. We had decided to disperse a small, very annoying, FW blob by dropping an Archon class carrier on their gang. As soon as the formidable capital ship flashed on their overviews, the blob scattered without any of us able to successfully point any targets. The FW gang returned, this time with some heavier firepower and not a small amount of ECM. A hasty extradition was planned, where we would warp in and destroy the ECM boats before targeting the lighter ships. Despite our best efforts, the assault on the FW blob was incoherent, poorly planned and chaotic, made worse by the heavy lag my computer experienced when loading grid. I tried to target a Tristan class frigate when suddenly a message flashed up:

“You cannot do that in a capsule”


It seems that I had lagged so badly, I had my jaguar destroyed before the computer had the chance to render the explosion of my ship graphically. Naturally I was infuriated; I had not managed to take out one single ship in this gang! Not one! And to top it all, I lost a Jaguar worth 50 million ISK.

Not impressed

However, the carrier pilot managed to keep his ship intact, so at least one good thing came out of this all. And, of course, I shall continue flying jaguars.

As soon as I have the money, that is…..

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