For the first time in what is usually known as "way too effin' long" I have a true blue, 100 proof, 24k (ok, 18k) gold EVE Online blog post! If you don't know that EVE's Retribution expansion came out last week with its changes and tweaks and goodies, you're probably on the wrong blog. But no worries, even for a vet like me some changes were so deep I spent the entire download and install time reading up on the patch notes and dev blogs that explained all the new stuff in more detail, and there was a lot of stuff.
At every major expansion or patch since I've first started playing EVE in 2008 I've asked this simple question upon logging in: what did the vikings break this time? Well, I have to admit that since Crucible I haven't really had to ask that question much. Apparently someone is learning, and that's good! No my first chats after laoding up the new expansion wasn't about broken stuff, but about new skills. A new branch of the Electronics tree had just sprouted: sensor compensation skills, in Gravimetric, Ladar, Magnetometric and Radar flavors. I immediately opened my character sheet to find out what I could train and yep, those four plus a few more were there so off to the nearest school station I went to purchase the skillbooks. I also picked up the Micro Jump Drive Operation skill but I have no idea when I'll actually use it as I almost never fly battleships. I do think they'll be useful on a Sniper BS; imagine it... get your gang on a gate, align to X, hit the MJD, and voila, instant sniping optimal range. Could be useful.
But as you've seen in my previous post the feature I was waiting for the most was the new Stabber hulls. I've been ecstatic about those ever since the first screenshots came out and i wasn't even subscribed at the time! And sure enough the first thing I did once the station environment loaded up was to get into my Vagabond and shed a tear of joy. It's more beautiful that it's ever been before. But I was in for an even bigger surprise. My good budddy Letrange had dropped in for the occasion and upon seeing me started asking "Dude, did you see the Stabber?" "Well yeah, it's nice and all... I'm sitting in my Vaga right now!" says I. But I was in for more. "No no no. The Stabber. If you have one were you are get in it!" Wow, I've rarely seen Let this excited. Of course me being me I always have like 2-3 Stabbers on hand ready to go waste wherever, so I activate one. "OK, open your fitting window now" says Letrange. And at this moment my eyeballs jump out of my skull. One extra low slot, one extra mid* slot, no more useless drone bay, and power grid to spare. I already had a decent fit for the Stabber which I had called the WannabeVaga, but all of a sudden it was TRULY a baby Vagabond. When I settle on my fit and see the increased tank and DPS, I feel ready to attack anything. Will it be successful? Read on.
The Stabber wasn't the only ship to receive a much needed boost. During a discussion about all the new goodies in Retribution my friend Havegun Willtravel tells me about the Thorax. He had played with the fit a little and I was able to do just a little better. So with two of my favorite ships already so much better it was finally time to start looking for trouble.
On Saturday night I undocked my freshly fit Thorax from Rens and looked at what my options were. There is the obvious Amamake region but being solo as I wait for Havegun to finish whatever he's doing to come join me I decided to head for the quieter low-sec pipe leading to Great Wildlands; in case you didn't know, the door to GW is a mere 8 jumps from the Heimatar market hub. Space was really quiet until I hit Null-sec, but with the small gang not too far from the gate and the 31 in Local there was no way I would get much deeper in a Thorax. Dancing on fire is more fun in an interceptor. I needed to get back to Rens to meet up with Gun anyway. Not only that, it was getting late for my two boys and I had to put 'em to bed. But just as I decided to dock up in the first Hi-sec system, I crossed a Venture pilot who had just jumped into Low-sec. I docked up and wished my boys goodnight, and then rushed back to undock and go back to Uplingur at best speed. I jumped in, warped to the star, hit the d-scan and sure enough the Venture pilot was in space. When I checked the pilot's stats I could barely believe it... only a few days old! Time to teach people some New Eden life lessons! A quick readjusting of the d-scan pointed me to a planet with a few asteroid belts so without hesitation I hit the warp drive towards the first belt. And landed my Thorax right in my blasters' optimal range. The Venture simply didn't have time to react before it was vaporized, and a few seconds later I was holding the capsule in warp scram. "You know what I could do, right?" I said in local, and almost instantly a convo invitation appeared on my screen:
[ 2012.12.09 02:05:47 ] Cozmik R5 > Welcome to EVE Online
[ 2012.12.09 02:05:51 ] Lady Kaneald > you already killed my venture let me go
[ 2012.12.09 02:06:14 ] Cozmik R5 > I will but let this be a warning... others won't be as nice as I am
[ 2012.12.09 02:06:24 ] Cozmik R5 > how much is a Venture again?
[ 2012.12.09 02:06:25 ] Lady Kaneald > thanks
[ 2012.12.09 02:06:36 ] Lady Kaneald > about 1.5 mil
[ 2012.12.09 02:07:11 ] Cozmik R5 > here get another one, but do be careful around low-sec
[ 2012.12.09 02:07:19 ] Lady Kaneald > thanks
[ 2012.12.09 02:07:28 ] Lady Kaneald > ive had a long day and kinda wasnt paying attention
[ 2012.12.09 02:07:36 ] Cozmik R5 > np and fly safe...ish
[ 2012.12.09 02:07:45 ] Lady Kaneald > lol you too
[ 2012.12.09 02:07:47 ] Cozmik R5 > this can be deadly in EVE
[ 2012.12.09 02:07:51 ] Cozmik R5 > believe me... I know!
[ 2012.12.09 02:07:54 ] Lady Kaneald > yeah ive notived
So all in all a good laugh and a fun start to this The PvP night.
A few minutes later Havegun and I met in Rens and decided to head towards the other part of Heimatar Low-sec, starting with the system of Olfeim. And various ships were flying around! We started combing space and with Olfeim being pretty small it didn't take long. After only one or two warps I landed next to a Vexor and instantly the gloves came off and the fight was on. I dispatched his shields with ease but his armor was a tough nut to crack. "Huh Gun?, you're on your way right?" It was clear I couldn't bring down this particular Vexor alone but at least I was hurting him. Just in the nick of time Havegun arrived and the Vexor melted
. I survived the ordeal with about 15% structure left. GF's were given and I docked up to repair the damage. As I did this Gun announced that there was a Rifter and a Bellicose out in space. He gave me a rough idea of where the Rifter was and I warped there. And landed right on it! He had turned yellow from looting someone else's wreck so I could kill him with impunity
. I barely had time to loot him that Gun announced that the Bellicose was on the move. Once again I hit warp and get lucky landing right on it. Gloves off and dance started, but almost immediately Havegun and our previous victim in a new Vexor arrived. The fight was on! I call the Bellicose primary as I know it should be a softer target, but it was clear that I was the primary for these guys. The Bellicose died
and we switched to the Vexor, but the damage was done and this time I didn't have a fresh ship so I died
. But during the ordeal Havegun had remained untouched so he was able to dispatch the Vexor with ease
. We then toured the small constellation on the other side of Dammalin after I had reshipped into a Stabber but nothing happened. We had had a great time anyway so we called it a night.
|Telefunken U47. You'll love it. It's a way of life :)|
Now that I could safely say I was back into The PvP, I obviously wanted more. And I really wanted to put the new Stabber through its paces. I had tried it a little bit in the first hours of Retribution but not with any great success; in fact I lost 2 or 3
. I did almost solo-kill a Wolf in Amamake but my fun stopped when a Falcon showed up and perma-jammed me; my name appears on the Wolf killmail
though! I lost another one to a good Rupture pilot in Mya when I failed at getting to a kiting orbit and passed too close to the Ruppy, getting scram/webbed in the process. I had a rematch immediately after in a 1v1 all Rupture match, but again my opponent had the edge. GF Dragon sir! But back on flying the Stabber, this time I wanted to pay a visit to my old haunts in Derelik, with maybe a quick peekaboo into Curse and Providence. The flight towards Curse was uneventful, but as the saying goes "one does not simply walk into it". There was only a small gang on the Sendaya gate in Doril but Local showed 52. A Stabber may be fast but it's no interceptor! So I decided to head towards Providence and maybe test my apparently neutral status there (this shouldn't last long!) Again, uneventful travel to the G-5EN2 system; in case you don't know, this system is MASSIVE. While sitting at the sun the farthest planet is 102 AU away. Plenty of space for stuff to hide in but no activity was apparent. I then jumped into 9-F0B2 and this time another brick wall. A TEST Alliance gang was having fun with the NRDS locals and it was clear that a battle had just happened on the G-5 gate. With so many hostiles out and the night coming to a close I decided to head back home, albeit very slowly just in case something happened. And a few jumps later, it did.
I land on the Bar gate in Gomati and a -8 Rupture pilot lands at almost the same time. I burn away from the gate as fast as I can to get to my kiting orbit, and as soon as I get passed web and scram range I order my guns and missile launchers to start singing. The Rupture is attempting to do the same but he just cannot keep up with my speed, and I'm hurting him a lot. He then sends me a flight of EC-300 Hornets. I then switch off my guns from the Rupture to point them at the incoming drones. My 20 km orbit gave me just enough space to pop two drones, but the remaining three managed to land a jam cycle. At least the missiles were doing a good job at softening up the Rupture. Time to end this little dance. I start spamming the targeting button praying for the jam cycle to end, and when it finally did I opened fire again, overheating my racks and guns. And then there was bright lights and then silence
! GFs were given as I picked up my well-earned loot and then called it a night. As I mentioned before I already loved the Stabber from way back in my BOZO days, but it was always a bit short on tank and firepower. The advent of the sized rigs and their radical drop in price were a big step towards making the Baby Vaga much better, and I did have a fit I was pretty successful with, especially in the aftermath of Marlona Sky's "Night of a Thousand Rifters" event
. But the new Retribution-era Stabber, with more tank, much more firepower and a smidge more agility... now we're talkin'! I've seen what a single one can do, but I would love to see what a gang of them will do. One thing is certain, flying around Vagabond style in a ship that is one sixth the price is an awesome feeling. Combine that with the brand new rules of engagement, and EVE suddenly feels like the proverbial phoenix risen out of its ashes. The magic is back and let's hope it's here to stay.
The holidays are coming and this will mean plenty of free time to fly around and blow shit up. We have to get together my corpmates and I and work on a plan, one based on fun and The PvP. There is talk of recruitment in the air, though it isn't decided what kind of pilots we'll be looking for. Same thing with the area of operations and the blue list; being the one that is online the most I have a feeling I'll be handling some corp-level work soon. Haven't done that in a while but it can be great fun. So here's to more awesome The PvP in the days to come and to many many explosions!
Fly like it's the last time you will
*Edit: it was an extra MID slot you ninny !!!