In my last post, I talked about a terrible day and the series of mistakes I made. As is wont to happen with one’s focus immediately after a shameful display of terrible piloting, you tend to pay attention to all the little things you neglected during your next roam.
And that’s exactly what happened to me last night. I went out of Doril in my Harpy looking for a good fight against a couple of BRAVE war targets. A couple hours earlier, some of my alliance mates killed a few targets in Chidah and Sooma, so I headed out into Derelik generally making my way there.
Part-way through, I received intel that a few BRAVE members were floating through the route to Rens, so I changed course, traveled through Sendaya again, and made my way up towards Gamis. On the way, I saw a good number of war targets, though most of them were either docked up or mining (and on the ball too, by remaining aligned and warping off when in trouble).
Then, all of a sudden, I landed in the middle of a 14-man BRAVE T1 frigate fleet camping the Shedoo gate in Ihal.
About this time, I quickly recalled my stupid mistakes of the night before, put down that brief panic on seeing a whole overview of targets, and decided I was going to let this happen.
Tough words, I know, but I was not going to have another loss without anything to show for it.
I quickly realized survival would depend on being able to split the fleet on either side of the gate, so I initially began to align off – very slowly. Sure enough, three targets aggressed me, so I jumped to the Shedoo side.
On the other side were three frigates orbiting the gate: two Atrons and a Rifter. I aligned to a celestial on the other side of the gate – bringin me closer to the gate as I aligned. If I could get away, I would. Of course, the Rifter was able to lock me quickly and applied a long point – remember that for later.
So I burned back through to the Ihal side just as Shedoo local began filling with the pilots from the other side of the camp. My cross-jump meant I’d be facing fewer ships this time in Ihal.
But, I gave up any thoughts of trying to escape in Ihal when I saw five targets still sitting on the gate. Instead, I burned back to the gate, and discovered I could hit my MWD and reach about 4,500 m before I started being webbed and scrammed; at that range, my coasting speed brought me to the gate before I could be halted entirely.
On the Shedoo side were four other ships, so I burned back to the Ihal gate. As I did, I noticed that only one target aggressed me. They were learning from what I was doing, and were making sure as few ships as possible aggressed me at each jump.
But this time, I waited on the gate for a while. The initial tackler didn’t attack me, so I began to move as if I was going to try to pull range and warp off. The ploy worked, and the other two tacklers aggressed me as the rest of their fleet jumped back into Shedoo. It was then that I jumped to Ihal.
Things were starting to turn my way. I knew the majority of their fleet was either 12-14 km away from the Ihal gate or aggressed, so I had a little time to think. All tolled, I had taken about 50 points of shield damage from my repeated jumps. So far, I hadn’t gotten lucky with my spawn position relative to the tacklers on the gate. My only hope was that they would slip up and end up on the wrong side of the gate or aggressed. I had the time to wait, and with each jump came the possibility that I could disrupt their discipline.
After about 10 seconds, I aligned to a celestial on the other side of the gate and hit my MWD. Just as I had to decide whether I would warp off, the scram struck. Before I could even think, the rest of the fleet jumped back into Ihal.
Back to Shedoo again, and only the three initial tacklers – two Atrons and a Rifter – were in local, still aggressed from the last time they tackled me. This time, though, my spawn position was excellent. I aligned away from them, overloaded my MWD, and activated it. As I was moving, I hit my damage control and cut the overheat (which wouldn’t hit until the next cycle). I wanted range, but didn’t want to burn out my mid slots, of which two were ASBs.
I pulled 25 km away from the closest tackler, the Rifter, and began to align out, but the alignment pulled me just close enough for him to get a point on me – remember, he only had a long point, so my MWD still worked fine.
After a few more seconds, the first two Atrons came in close enough to scram me, but in so doing, the drop in my speed brought them very close to me when my scram hit the first one.
Within range of my blasters, that Atron went down very quickly. I set to work on the next Atron when I saw local begin to spike.
It’s at this point that normally, a story ends with, “and that’s when my roam ended.” But not this time. This time ,what followed was a massacre of everything Gallente on the field.
One at a time, I targeted and destroyed Atron after Atron as their fleet jumped through the gate and made their way to me from their spawn points around the gate. By the time the fourth tackler (first other than the first three) reached me, I was about 40 km off the gate). To keep me within range of their guns, they orbited me closely. But blarpy damage was cutting through them in 4-5 shots each at close range, while my ASB was keeping me very high in shields.
This fight lasted about four minutes, until nearly all the Gallente ships in their fleet (which had a few more who didn’t get on any killmails) were dead. The one exception is one Atron that pulled range and survived once I got him to about 50% armor.
With a good part of the fleet dead and my ship now about 70 km from the gate, all that remained on me was the sole Rifter from the beginning of the fight, who had stayed at an orbit of about 20 km the whole time. With keeping a point on me now a waste of time, he disengaged as I switched to null ammo and began to plink away at him from distance while trying to slingshot closer to him.
I was stunned that I’d survived. Say what you will about some of the fits in that fight, but facing so many ships collects a lot of DPS regardless of the quality of the modules on them. And the BRAVE fleet did a good job of maintaining a strong tackling presence through about four jumps, not an easy task. It’s very rare for any solo pilot to survive against such tremendous odds.
It happened because I managed to keep my cool, delay the engagement until factors were as far in my favor as possible, and pay attention to which ships were tackling me and within range of my blasters. A breakdown at any level would have seen me be destroyed with perhaps one or two T1 kills to my credit.
My heart was pounding, and immediately after, I was babbling incoherently in Teamspeak, too stunned to really form organized thoughts. Almost immediately, I knew how rare of an experience it was, and I’m not too proud to admit that I didn’t want to experience such a situation again for a while. It was tense, man.
But I’ll remember it for as long as I play Eve. And it wouldn’t have turned out this way if I hadn’t had such a terrible night a few days prior.
Shame is a great motivator. It sharpens your senses, and is a necessary prerequisite for any truly great experience.