Friday, February 28, 2014

Lessons: I Welcome Our New Afterburner Overlords

After a couple weeks’ absence from our Friday night low-sec roam, I was finally able to participate again.  Two weeks doesn’t seem like that much, but my fleet mates had dropped sec status by about 1-2 points each.  That sounds like a lot of missed fun.

So, I was eager to jump right on in.  And this time, I brought a artillery-fit Rifter that cost a whopping 10 million.  Though it matters little when it comes to how well you fly, there’s something intensely satisfying in being the top damage dealer on nearly all my kills.  And that’s the situation I was in with this fit.  In an artillery Rifter, your optimal + falloff is about 12 km.  Fighting at around 7500 meters gives pretty good damage, though your alpha strike is far better than your dps.

But the fun part is how little I care about dying in it.  I typically fly T2 Minmatar ships that run between 200 mil and 500 mil each.  Suffice to say, it took a bit of time to adjust my thinking.  Defense and “maybe I shouldn’t…” simply don’t exist.  We didn’t even bat an eye when we found a Vexor (typically a frigate killer when fit with webs, particular T1 frigates).  To our surprise, it dropped extremely quickly.

And that’s the first lesson of that roam… a great number of pilots have very unique views when it comes to ship fitting.  For instance, fitting solely for agility and gank in a Gallente ship – close range, but no webs, scrams, or tank.  To anyone I’ve ever met, that’s simply insane.  But who in his right mind would ever engage that ship with a small group of frigates?

Glad to meet you, sir.

This just makes me wonder how many of the pilots I shy away from – due to their ship choice – are actually idiotic pilots in disguise as competent ones.  I’ll have to take some ridiculously stupid fights, then report back.  But regardless, you’ll never get kills for not taking a fight.  Sometimes, it’s worthwhile just to jump on in and engage… you may get lucky and face an incompetent ship fitter.

But, the other feature of the Rifter I was flying on Friday is that it was fit with an afterburner.  Keep in mind, Talvorian flies exactly two ships with an AB… a particular Scimitar fit and a PvE Tengu.  Literally the first module I put on my fits is a meta MWD of appropriate size (albeit, I upgrade to +1 size on some fits…).  So, for me to fly an AB ship requires yet another period of adjustment.

To my surprise, my web/scram/ab Rifter was keeping pace with every ship I came across, and allowed me to dictate range within web range.  To anyone who flies FW, this is no big surprise.  After all, between warp sliding and the agility of frigates so common to faction warfare, all fighting occurs in FW deadspace sites.

But it highlights the second lesson of the night… you need to fit your ship to counter your likely opponents.  In any roam, you will have enemies you absolutely should not fight and others you should run to engage.  These are often driven by ship classes.  But in low-sec, you should also consider whether you intend to face faction warfare targets or not.  They will be afterburner fit, and you really should be too, else they will dictate range on you and quickly reduce you to scrap metal.

Trust me on this.  I always believed small-gang null pilots were the best at what they did.  Then I went to FW turf and tried to engage an AB-fit jockey, who ripped me apart with a T1 piece of garbage.  “Humbled” was an understatement.

But last night was a success story, with multiple kills (feel free to look them up; I’m not going to gloat over T1 frig kills).  Yet I also realize a low-sec pirate or roaming null-sec gang would have ripped myself and my whole fleet apart very quickly.  “When in Rome…” is all fine, but don’t try that crap in Carthage.

It’s important to maintain perspective when roaming.  Take the type of fights you want to take.  Even when you decide to fight outnumbered or beyond your fleet’s ability, don’t fight a gang you are wholly unsuited to fight.  Sure, fight ten if you’re six and think you have an advantage.  But if you’re a null-sec gang primarily made up of Sabres and you come across an equal fleet of Thrashers in low-sec, run.  Run very fast.

And, for God’s sake, don’t get in a Rifter vs. Rifter fight if you’re MWD and he’s AB-fit.

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