Friday, November 1, 2013

Lessons: Low-Sec Tengus and Suspect Timers

In the Reddit comments to my recent suggestion to add pockets to null-sec within which pilots don’t show up in local, a few players scoffed at the idea that roamers hunting miners either a) never generate defense fleets to chase them off, or b) run away from the slightest resistance.

I can personally attest that every roamer in Razor space generates at least a few people willing to hunt them down, simply for the affront of believing they could travel or – gasp! – plex in our space.  Generally, these infiltrators are killed if they’re not flying cloaky ships, and about half the time if they are.  We take defending our space very seriously.

And we’re obviously not the only ones.  Already, I’ve written about one situation in which I both a) hunted ratters to generate response fleets, and b) fought them when they arrived.  In that case, I expected to face smaller gangs and was surprised by the number, but I could have even survived after getting a couple kills (assuming I had the chance to warp out, which I believe I did).  For this post, the point is that the defenders did respond to my incursion exactly as I hoped, and it generated content for both of us (ie. I didn’t run).

I think it’s safe to say that in the regard of “defending your space” and chasing outsiders away, if people do it, they’ll do it anywhere: WH, null-sec, or low-sec space.  After all, it touches on the same sentiment in players, the desire to defend what you believe to be yours.  Having sov is irrelevant to “ownership”.  Just ask low-sec corps or NPC null corps in Syndicate.

So, last night, when my Harpy found a dead-end low-sec pocket populated by the good folks from Some Say, I started snooping around.  When I entered Ussad, I saw a Hulk and Tengu on dscan.  After quickly discounting an ice anomaly as their location (hey, I’m not a miner!), I narrowed them down to one of two belts, and warped to the first.  I hadn’t fought a Tengu before in my Harpy, and I didn’t want to land right on top of a scram/web Tengu, so I warped at 50.

When I landed, I was 69 off the Hulk and 60 off the Tengu.  I quickly closed range, keeping the Hulk between me and the Tengu, and started to attack the mining barge.  I suspect they were dual-boxed by the same pilot, since neither ship moved or attempted to align, but the Tengu did lock me.

As I fought, I tried to keep range from the Tengu.  He hadn’t pointed me yet, so I assumed he was at least scram fit.  But after taking some damage and seeing that his heavy missiles couldn’t do enough damage to my dual-ASB tank to pose a serious threat, I finished off the Hulk, then came in close.

I was able to get within scram range without being scrammed myself, but just as I started attacking the Tengu, a Rapier entered grid uncloaked.  Having flown these frequently, I know how that ship can cut up assault frigs, so I quickly aligned out, not even bothering to point the Tengu.  He warped away to a station as I warped to the sun.  As I did, I made a bookmark, and upon landing warped back to it.  A Rapier and a new pilot in an Ishkur landed as I was warping off to my safe.

A few dscans with my probes-only overview confirmed that they weren’t using probers, so I sat and thought for a bit.  How could I separate the Ishkur from the Rapier long enough to kill him?  As I did, a couple other ships entered scan.  A Vexor among them.  Obviously, I couldn’t fight the entire gang.  But a dscan confirmed that only the Ishkur was on the Ibash gate, so I warped to the gate and jumped through.  The Rapier showed up on a long dscan, but not a short one.  The Ishkur jumped too.

Upon loading grid, I reapproached the gate, and the Ishkur faithfully decloaked and began to approach me, and yellow-box me.  When he scrammed and webbed me, I made my mistake.  I hesitated for a moment, expecting to see the gate guns start to eat him up.  So I missed a couple cycles of my guns at the start.  As I fought, I saw that he was starting to go down fairly well.  I didn’t realize until later that my suspect timer was still active, and he had attacked me with impunity.  Once I did, I fired back.

It’d be a close fight.  My second mistake was in not activating my first ASB until I was at about 10% shields.  That’ll be important later.  However, I started overloading my guns, only stopping when I was at about 50% heat damage, and I was clearly ahead in the fight.  The first ASB ended and began a reload cycle as I activated my second one.

And that’s when the Rapier decloaked and began to attack me.  Time really flies when you’re in a fight, and I hadn’t realized enough had passed for him to warp in and jump.  Suffice to say, the added DPS of the Rapier was enough to break me before my first ASB could reload.  If I’d started to use it earlier, it would have cycled, giving me enough time to take out the Ishkur before dying.

The dual-ASB Harpy is still new to me, but this is a mistake I’m not going to make again.  Fortunately, I was able to get a hulk kill out of it.  That same behavior by the dual-boxer would have lost him a Tengu as well if Some Say wouldn’t have been as on-the-ball with response ships.

I have to give it to Some Say… they didn’t blob, and Ianov Saraban was willing to engage me solo at first.  It was so much fun, I think I’ll head back there.

But it also proves my basic thesis, that players have an inherent interest and tendency to defend space they consider to be theirs, and that attacking ratters will elicit a response fleet.  Granted, this doesn’t work very well in renter alliances where corps only care about themselves and their own members, but if you travel to a true sov-holding alliance, a NPC null alliance, or a low-sec pockets “owned” by one group or another, they will respond to attacks on their ratters or miners, if only for content on their doorstop.  Nothing incenses an alliance like tossing a gauntlet before them by killing one of their carebears in their home system.  Good alliances will always react.

Or, put another way, kick the workers and the guards will react.  And react, they did!  Well played, Some Say!

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