Friday, January 10, 2014

Lessons: First Impressions

You can’t make a first impression twice.  It’s an old adage, and one that’s absolutely true when it comes to Eve.

After a few days of trying to find the right WH, I finally managed to find a route.  In went my carrier, with all my goodies for WH life.  I had been listening to ops on comms for a few days, and while it definitely helped me gain a feel for how my new corp rolled, it also frustrated me that I couldn’t join in the mayhem.  Listening to them dunk fleet after fleet, while not being there, was frustrating.

But now, I’m here.  So I went on an inaugural roam with my two characters, looking for some trouble. 

The Appetizer

Being a former null-sec guy, I decided to go through a null hole, and found myself in VI2K-J in Vale.  To my great surprise, I found a neutral in system running a data site.  A moment after I identified the sig he was sitting in, he cloaked, so I dutifully finished probing down the site, bookmarked it, and moved on further down the pipe.

On the way, I saw a couple ratters and a dead-end system with 32 Retrievers, Mackinaws, and an Orca protected by forty anchored bubbles surrounding the only gate.

Yes, forty. 40. I burned through and observed them at their POS for a while, only to see 32 pilots all sitting completely still.  A quick check of dotlan told me the whole area was a bust, so I started to head back.

As I returned to VI2K-J, I began to warp to the wormhole instinctively, but on second thought, I stopped my warp and headed to the data site again, and I’m glad I did.

Typically, it’s impossible to catch an Astero because of its cloak.  If a hostile enters system, the pilot can simply burn off in a random direction and cloak up.

But the hacking minigame takes up a lot of desktop space, and it’s really easy to focus on those little nodes instead of a new pilot in local.  And I suspect that’s exactly what happened.  It cost him about two hundred million.

If you’re going to run data and relic sites in null-sec, it’s very important to arrange your windows so you can immediately see any new neutrals entering local.  I personally clear my local chat so I can more easily see any changes to that window.  Even if you avoid a hunter once, keep in mind that he will most likely circle back during his exit route.  The hacking game isn’t time-intensive until you successfully complete it… don’t get so caught up in those little nodes that you forget the basics of null-sec travel.  Watch local, have an escape plan, value safety when you don’t have any guns.

In low-sec, which often already has multiple pilots in system, you need to continuously dscan.  An Interceptor can kill an Astero eventually, and they move frighteningly fast.  Select a note, then dscan.  Select another, then dscan.  Get into that habit and you can give yourself as much notice as possible to safe up when a short scan reveals an incoming ship.

The Entree

Having stretched my legs and enjoyed a little of the good WH benefit of appearing suddenly, I headed back home, but my trip back was cut short by the discovery of a 7-man fleet working the sites in our static.

Sky Fighters forms up very quickly, so I reported the gang in corp, and we quickly put together a nice gang as I kept eyes on the ratters.  I was about 180 km off with sleepers on the field as my fleet landed on the other side of the connecting WH.  Instead of endangering my own ship, though, I simply waited for them to kill a rat, created a corp bookmark of the location – conveniently located amid all their ships – and called in the cavalry.

In the melee that followed, we managed to avoid attracting sleeper damage until the very end, when the rats instapopped our Falcon.  Other than that, though, it was a complete victory.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad way to introduce myself to my new corp.  A find like that, worth about two billion isk, is why I decided to head to WH space.  A small gang, a fast form-up, and a deadly result.  What more could you ask for?

Primary. appear to be low-sec residents, who obviously aren’t well-versed with the particular nature of wormholes.  They quite simply forgot to check dscan.  We weren’t cloaked when we warped in – the majority of us didn’t even have cloaks – and could have been avoided by a wary gang.  But while they may have started by checking dscan regularly, as the sleepers came in fast and hard, they started to take damage, the Scimitars had to focus on repping their fleet mates, the Drakes were worried about killing the BS rats quickly, and the unfamiliar repetitive tasks – checking dscan – were forgotten.

And that’s a component of “home field advantage” or, more to the point, fighting in unfamiliar territory.  An alliance that frequently traverses low-sec will be much more familiar with aggression mechanics in that area of space, suspect timers, and limited engagements than a null-sec alliance.  A wormhole corp will know how to safely farm a site, whereas a null-sec alliance will forget some of the basic safety steps needed to survive.

Ultimately, it’s not enough to simply know the rules.  You need to practice the rules until they become second nature.  That’s the real reason a well-traveled 3-year pilot will do better than a 7-year old pilot who has spent all his time in high-sec.  It’s why a member of a pirate corp will be a better pilot than someone whose entire PvP experience has been in a fleet blob.  It’s not the quantity of experience you have, but the quality and variety.

Consider your flying and ask yourself one question: Am I making myself better, or hiding behind the familiar?  If you want to simply enjoy the experience, that’s one thing.  But if you want to improve, you need to put yourself on unfamiliar footing.  Consider how long you intend to play the game… is it long enough to warrant several months of discomfort?

When you know that, you’ll know the kind of experience you’re looking for.

Bringing It Home

So, I’d say I made a pretty good first impression, which hopefully will be reinforced by my eagerness, willingness to go all-in with WH life, and fleet performance.  But, just as importantly, Sky Fighters made a great first impression with me, too. Their form-up was fast, the pilots knew what they were doing, and at no point did the FC nor the members demonstrate anything less than absolute professionalism.  We were actually planning to head out with about half our numbers, but as pilots logged in (yes, that form-up time also included time for pilots to log in, and it was still lightning-fast) everyone joined the action.  Both that willingness to fight slightly outnumbered initially and the eagerness among pilots for PvP action seem to validate my decision to join them.

Overall, a good day’s work all around.

1 comment:

  1. You guys reshipped? Plenty off chars flew two or more ships :)
    Nice find!