First contact

My corporation is still at war. There are now two enemy corporations who have declared war on us. Both of them are small corps (10 members and 6 members, approximately) who seemed to think that picking a fight with Eve University would provide them with a system full of clueless targets for killing. That could be true if they caught some of us traveling alone, but most of us seem to exercise good wartime discipline.

I almost became the exception last night.

Just before the second war started, when I thought the first war dec was going to expire without being renewed, I bought a new Minmatar ship, a cruiser-class Stabber. The extension of the first war and declaration of the second war has kept the ship in dry dock since its purchase. When I logged in last night, there were no war targets online and things had been quiet most of the day. I decided to risk a trip to pick up the Stabber, fit it, and bring it back to headquarters.

Flying to the ship went fine. Fitting it went fine, except my guns were in a hangar in my mission station, a few jumps away from where the Stabber was docked. This will have a bit of future significance.

There were still no war targets online. I undocked to fly to the station where my guns were stored. As I made my first jump toward my mission station, a war target appeared. As I made my second jump, he appeared in my Local chat, meaning he was in the system with me somewhere. I was still a couple jumps from my guns.

His appearance could have been a bit of bad luck for me, or he could have had an alt parked in the system where I was shopping. It’s a busy system with lots of commerce, and it would make sense to sit there with a character who was not part of the active war, looking for potential targets. Either way, as I aligned to warp to the stargate on the other side of the system and typed out the war target’s location to my corporation, he warped to the stargate I was just leaving. I typed out the update in mid-warp, immediately jumped through the stargate when I came out of warp and started to align for my next jump. Somewhere in there I hesitated long enough to allow him to catch up with me. He jumped into the system while I was aligning, and he locked and warp scrambled me before I warped away.

He was flying an interceptor-class ship, a Crow, which I had unsuccessfully attempted to lock and warp/web in a couple prior fleet operations. It’s a damn fast ship. He was orbiting me at 20km and there was no way for me to close the gap, even with MWD. His speed was going to be a problem. Remember the part where I said I hadn’t fitted guns to the ship yet? Yeah, that was a bit of a problem too.

He was firing missiles at me while I updated the corp on my situation. No corpmates were close enough to make a difference, so I tried to figure out how to save my ship. The best solution is probably obvious to anyone who’s done a bit of PvP in Eve. I didn’t have guns, but I did have a bit of a tank. It wouldn’t have taken much for me to fly back to the stargate and jump to the next system, breaking his target lock and maybe giving me time to warp off…but in my excitement, I forgot about that option. Adrenaline makes me stupid sometimes, which I’ve field-tested in plenty of games prior to Eve 🙂

So, I spent my time trying to cut down the angle between us, hoping to get lucky and maybe get a web on him. If I had him webbed, I was hoping I could NOS or something so he couldn’t keep his warp scrambler running, and it would give me the opportunity to warp away. He was way too fast, though, and I never changed his 20km orbit by more than a couple thousand kilometers. My armor tank was slowly fading, down below half armor, but the fight had been going on for a few minutes. The interceptor is fast, but it was taking a while to whittle away my defenses. I kept hitting my warp button, hoping he was having capacitor troubles and was pulsing his warp disruptor, trying to save cap. Sure enough, I eventually caught him with the warp disruptor off and I managed to warp off to safety.

I was planning to fit autocannons on the Stabber, so guns wouldn’t have done me much good at that point. I don’t know if I could have hit him with missiles either, given how fast an interceptor can fly. If I had a fully fitted ship, the only way I could have gotten him into range would have been by faking a run to the stargate. If he thought I was about the escape into the next system, perhaps he would have made his own run for the stargate and I could have delayed jumping through long enough to get him webbed. Or course, it would be easy for him to escape at that point as well, so he really controlled the whole engagement.

Eve is such a massive game of rock-paper-scissors. This ship works well against that ship, unless you’re fitting this kind of gun or that kind of speed module or electronic warfare module, etc. I guess I learned a lot last night about how to pick a good fight, and I also learned a little bit about how to escape a fight that’s stacked against me.

It makes me realize how much I have to learn. Did my opponent note the type of ship I was flying as soon as he saw me? Was he watching the first few minutes of the fight to see if I had artillery fitted, which would have been the only way for me to hit him reliably from 20km? Would he have warped right off and left me alone if I hit him with an artillery salvo while he orbited at 20km? Would he have even considered chasing me if I had been in a destroyer? I’m just learning to ask these questions. I still don’t know the answers.

I was slow to analyze the situation. It took me a few minutes of fighting to note the type of ship he was flying. It took me researching the Crow to figure out his possible fittings and strategies. And that’s just one kind of ship for one race in Eve. There’s a lot of learning to do. I’m just glad I didn’t have to lose a ship to learn some lessons.

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