Quite simply, if you want a fight, go in a small gang.
One of the corporations in my alliance, Repercussus, runs a weekly small gang roam every Friday night. The composition usually changes, but this week they ran assault frigs, and I joined them. Being in assault frigs, the objective was to catch folks in FW sites and running missions – anything away from gate guns. I brought a Dramiel for some speed (I’ll probably write a quick guide on how to fly – and survive in – a dual-prop Dramiel in the near future).
Did I mention it was a drunk roam? As with many things in this world, sometimes, a little alcohol can sooth the nerves. Our minds are cluttered places, and a little buzz can actually help your flying by clearing all the extra junk out of them. It forces you to live in the moment, and that can be a very good thing for Eve.
Our roam began much as assault frigate roams do… moving quickly while searching for targets. Individual members would go off and check various FW plexes for targets, using dscan to pinpoint possible locations. It’s very much a “swarm of bees” situation.
I joined late, so the fleet had already taken down a Deimos earlier in the night. My first engagement was when one of our pilots caught a Tempest Fleet Issue on the gate of a medium FW site and called in the cavalry. We were all orbiting at around 7 km in case of smart bombs. As we got it down to about half shields, a Cyclone arrived to “save” it. We switched to killing all the drones, then took the Cyclone and TFI out.
It was a long fight – about five minutes – and at one point my close orbit against the Cyclone took me to about 30 km out from the TFI. He saw my distance and began to lock me, but I was able to recover transversal as I closed range again. It was a close call made because I was focusing too much on a ship that I didn’t need to worry about. Orbiting the Cyclone was irrelevant with his missiles. Lesson #1: keep transversal against the more deadly target.
About an hour later, we entered our second engagement, which consisted of a fight in a small FW site against a Kitsune, Incursus, and Hawk. I pulled the duty of engaging the Kitsune, and managed to get my drones on him before he perma-jammed me. Ultimately, those drones forced him from the field, but we had enough dps to kill the Hawk and Incursus easily. I feel like it was a missed opportunity… a couple more points and we could have taken that all of them down. I honestly don’t understand why the Incursus and Hawk remained for the fight… they were vastly outnumbered, but they flew well enough to last longer than they had a right to expect, perhaps 3 minutes or so against our entire fleet. Well done!
But, I made up for the Kitsune getting away by catching a Brutix at the sun a few jumps away. He was about 40-50 away from me, so I had to burn towards him quickly before he could escape – in a Dramiel, that’s about 5 km/s. Naturally, this brought me into web range. But – since I was dual-prop fit, even webbed and scrammed, I was still going 600 m/s until I escaped web range. I was never below 90% shields.
We tried to leave three or four times, and each time we found another target to kill, extending the roam. The last one happened in Tama when one of our pilots caught an Armageddon on the same medium FW gate as our TFI fight. So, of course, we HAD to swarm it. If I made mistakes with my range in the first fight, I corrected them this time, staying outside of smart bomb range until the ‘geddon was neuted out, and calling for a change of targets to the sentry drones he launched. This one was a clean fight, and marked our second BS kill of the night.
All in all, while we didn’t face any comparably sized fleets, the roam was great fun for the number of engagements – we caught a few others in between – and the personal piloting I got to do. I haven’t flown my Dramiel in a while, and when I did it was mostly solo, but I think it’ll be a go-to ship for small gang. There were a few times I made mistakes, so I have some opportunity to learn from the mistakes. The total butcher’s bill for me was 1.12 billion isk. Not bad for a Friday night in US TZ.
Best of all, though… small gang! Far superior to fleet fights, and great fun flying with a group of guys who don’t care about losses. If you see a group of Razor pilots roaming through low-sec on Friday nights, come on out and shoot at us!